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Author of "A Survey of International Relations between the 
United States and Germauy, August 1, 1914-April 
6, 1917/' Editor of "Diplomatic Correspond- 
ence between the United States and 
Germany, August 1, 1914- 
AprU 6, 1917 " 

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just 
powers from the consent of the governed. 

— The Unanimous Declaratum of the Thirteen United 
States of America, July 4, IttS. 

The law of nations is founded upon reason and justice, and 
the rules of conduct governing individual jrelations between 
citizens or subjects of a civili^ state are equally applicable 
as between enlightened nations. 

— Prescient Cleveland's Special Message to Congress, 
December 18, 189S, 

The world must be made safe for democracy. 

— President Wilson*s War Address to Congress, 
ApHl 2, 1917, 



AMERICAN BRANCH: 89 War Sttro Sthbst 





JUL 3 1918 






•ANWAT, n. A 


The publishers announce, separate and distinct from, but to be 
used in connection with the present volume, the Diplomatic Cor- 
respondence Between the United States and Germany, from August 1, 
1914, to April 6, 1917, the date of the declaration of a state of war 
by the Congress of the United States against the Imperial German 
Government, and a Survey of International Relations Between the 
United States and Germany, during the same period. These volumes 
are of the same format as President Wilson's Foreign Policy. 

President Wilson's views upon foreign polifey were important 
during the neutrality of the United States, and it is even more 
important to understand them now, inasmuch as they are the views 
of the United States at war and indicate in no uncertain way the 
attitude which the United States under President Wilson's guidance 
may be expected to assume in the negotiations which must one day 
bring about peace to a long-suffering and war-ridden world. This 
volume is of interest to Mr. Wilson 'g countrymen; it is of interest 
to the belligerents ; it is of interest to the neutrals, whose cause Mr. 
Wilson has championed. 

The differences of opinion, crystallizing into opposition, and 
resulting eventually in war between the United States and (Germany, 
are stated clearly, unmistakably, and officially in the Diplomatic 
Correspondence between the two Governments since the outbreak of 
the European War in 1914, and up to the declaration of war by 
the United States because of the controversies between the two 
countries. The Diplomatic Correspondence makes the case of the 
United States, just as the Diplomatic Correspondence is the defense 
of Ctermany. Upon this Correspondence each country rests its case, 
and upon this Correspondence each is to be judged. It is thought 
best to present it in a volume by itself, disconnected from narrative 



or from correspondence with other belligerent nations, which would 
indeed have been interesting but not material to the present case. 

The Survey of International Relations Between the United States 
and Germany aims to give an authentic account of the conduct of 
the United States during the period of its neutrality, and the attitude 
of the Imperial Qovemment towards the United States. An extended 
introduction is prefixed, setting forth the views of monarchs, states- 
men, and publicists of that country, showing the German conception 
of the State, International Policy and International Law. The 
narrative giving the views of both Governments is based upon the 
documents contained in the volume of Diplomatic Correspondence 
Betweien the United States and (Germany. 

The publishers have pleasure in announcing that Mr. Scott has 
directed that the royalties due him for these volumes be presented to 
the Department of State War Belief Work Committee, of which Mrs. 
Robert Lansing is President. 

Oxford University Press. 
American Branch. 

April 16, 1918. 



Introduction xi-xiv 

Address on Mexican Affairs, to the Congress, August 27, 

1913 1-10 

Address at rededication of Congress Hall, Philadelphia, 

October 25, 1913 11-18 

Address before Southern Commercial Congress, Mobile, 

October 27, 1913 * . 19-26 

First Annual Address to the Congress, December 2, 1913 . 27-30 

Address to the Congress on Panama Tolls, March 5, 1914 . 31-32 

Address to the Congress on Mexican Affairs, April 20. 1914 33-37 

Address at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, May 11, 1914 38-42 

Address at unveiling of statue to memory of Commodore 

Barry, Washington, May 16, 1914 43-47 

Address to the Oraduating Class of the United States Naval 

Academy, June 5, 1914 48-54 

Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, July 4, 1914 . 55-65 

American Neutrality, Appeal to Citizens of the Bepublic, 

August 18, 1914 66-68 

Address before American Bar Association, Washington, 

October 20, 1914 69-70 

Second Annual Address to the Congress, December 8, 1914 71-83 

Address at the Associated Press Luncheon, New York, 

April 20, 1915 84-91 

Address to newly naturalized American citizens, Philadel- 
phia, May 10, 1915 92-97 

Address at Luncheon tendered the President by the 

Mayor's Committee, New York, May 17, 1915 98-101 

Address at the Pan-American Financial Conference, Wash- 
ington, May 24, 1915 102-105 

Address to the Daughters of the American Revolution, 

Washington, October 11, 1915 . ' 106-114 




Address at fiftieth anniversary dinner of the Manhattan 

Club, New York, November 4, 1915 115-125 

Third Annual Address to the Congress, December 7, 1915 . 126-153 

Address before the Pan American Scientific Congress, 

Washington, January 6, 1916 154-162 

Address delivered at Cleveland, Ohio, January 29, 1916 . 163-175 

Letter to Senator Stone, February 24, 1916 .... 176-178 

Letter to Representative Pou, February 29, 1916 . . 179-180 

Address delivered before the Congress, April 19, 1916 . 181-188 

Address at first annual assemblage of the League to Enforce 

Peace, May 27, 1916 189-195 

Address on Memorial Day, Arlington, May 30, 1916 . . 196-202 

Address to the Graduating Class at the United States Mili- 
tary Academy, June 13, 1916 203-211 

Address on Flag Day, Washington, June 14, 1916 . . 212-217 

Address before Salesmanship Congress, Detroit, July 10, 

1916 218-224 

Address at Toledo, July 10, 1916 225-226 

Address on accepting renomination for the Presidency, 

September 2, 1916 227-234 

Peace Notes to the Belligerent Governments, dated Decem- 
ber 18, 1916 235-244 

Address to the Senate, January 22, 1917 .... 245-254 

Address to the Congress, announcing the severance of diplo- 
matic relations with Germany, February 3, 1917 . . 255-260 

Address on Armed Neutrality, before the Congress, 

February 26, 1917 261-267 

Second Inaugural Address, Washington, March 5, 1917 . 268-273 

Address to the Congress recommending declaration of a 

state of war with Germany, April 2, 1917 . . . 274-287 

Address to his fellow-countrymen concerning the war with 

Germany, April 15, 1917 288-294 

Address at the dedication of the Bed Cross Building, Wash- 
ington, May 12, 1917 295-299 

Address on Memorial Day at Arlington, May 30, 1917 . 300-302 

Address at the Confederate Reunion, Washington, June 6, 

1917 303-307 



Address on Flag Day, Washington, June 14, 1917 . . 308-317 

Commonication to the Provisional Gtovemment of Russia^ 

June 9, 1917 318-321 

Reply to the Peace appeal of the Pope, August 27, 1917 . 322-325 

Address before the American Federation of Labor, Buffalo,, 

November 12, 1917 326-336 

Telegram to the Northwest Loyalty Meetings, St. Paul, 

November 16, 1917 337 

Telegram to the King of the Belgians, November 17, 1917 . 338 

Address to the Congress, reconmiending the declaration of 
a state of war between the United States and Austria- 
Hungary, December 4, 1917 339-^53 

Address to the Congress on the conditions of peace, Jan- 
uary 8, 1918 354-363 

Address to the Congress on the Addresses of the German 
Chancellor and the Austro-Hungarian Minister for 
Foreign Affairs, February 11, 1918 364-373 

Address at opening of Third Liberty Loan campaign, 

Baltimore, April 6, 1918 374-380 


1 — ^Mexico. The record of a conversation with President 

Wilson. By Samuel G. Blythe 383-391 

2 — The President's Mexican Policy — ^Presented in an 
authorized interview by Secretary of the Interior 
FranHin K. Lane, July 16, 1916 392-406 

3 — Article on Mexican question, in Ladies* Home Journal, 

October, 1916 407-410 

4 — ^Memorandum on the right of American citizens to travel 
upon armed merchant ships, transmitted to the 
Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Rep- 
resentatives, March 4, 1916 411-424 



President Wilson's messages and addresses, delivered daring his 
first term of office and within the first few months of his second 
inauguration, cover a wide range of subjects, as was natural, given 
the international situation and the measures necessary to be taken 
in order to cope with it. They fall, logically, into two classes : those 
dealing with foreign and those dealing with domestic affairs. The 
first category is susceptible of a threefold division: those dealing 
with the neutrality of the United States in the war which may be said 
to have begun by Germany's declaration of a state of war against 
Russia on the 1st day of August, 1914; those delivered when war 
between the United States and Germany loomed large upon the 
horizon and seemed, unless the unexpected should happen, to be but 
a mere question of time; and those delivered after the outbreak of 
war, when the ship of state, so to speak, had cast off its neutral 
moorings, and had put out to sea with its allies in the contest of 
democracy against autocratic rulers apparently bound on world 

And yet, if we analyze President Wilson's messages and addresses 
on foreign policy — for his views on domestic questions may be omitted, 
except in so far as they relate to foreign policy — ^we find that, whether 
delivered before the war of 1914, during the period of American 
neutrality, or after the outbreak of the war between Germany and 
the United States, when President Wilson was speaking as the chief 
executive of a belligerent country, they are but the varying expres- 
sions of a single, definite, conscious purpose, namely, the strengthening 
of constitutional government where it existed, leavened with democ- 
racy, and the introduction of constitutional government where it did 
not exist, of a democratic nature or tendency. The future, in President 
Wilson's conception, belongs to democracy — ^the world must be made 
safe for democracy; and, although he does not say it in express 
terms, democracy must be made safe for the world by instruction in 
its duties as well as in its rights and by the performance of its duties 
in the same degree as the insistence upon its rights. The strain of 
democracy runs through all of his messages and addresses as a golden 
thread, and the means to bring about constitutional government — 



which, in the President's mind, is apparently synonjonous with 
democratic government — ^is from within, not from without, is by 
moral, not by physical force. Thus, in an address delivered on 
June 30, 1916, before the Press Club in New York City, President 
AYilson said: 

I have not read history without observing that the greatest forces 
in the world and the only permanent forces are the moral forces. 

We have the evidence of a very competent witness, namely, the 
first Napoleon, who said that as he looked back in the last days of 
his life upon so much as he knew of human history he had to record 
the judgment that force had never accomplished anything that was 

Force will not accomplish anything that is permanent, I venture 
to say, in the great struggle which is now going on on the other 
side of the sea. The permanent things will be accomplished after- 
wards, when the opinion of mankind is brought to bear upon the 
issues, and the only thing that will hold the world steady is this same 
silent, insistent, all-powerful opinion of mankind. 

Force can sometimes hold things steady until opinion has time 
to form, but no force that was ever exerted, except in response to 
that opinion, was ever a conquering and predominant force. 

I think the sentence in American history that I myself am proudest 
of is that in the introductory sentences of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, where the writers say that a due respect for the opinion 
of mankind demands that they state the reasons for what they are 
about to do. 

President Wilson believes and therefore states, as will be apparent 
even to the casual reader of his messages and addresses on foreign 
policy, that there is but one standard of justice for the individual 
as well as for the state; that what is wrong for the individual 
cannot be right for the state, and what is right for the state should 
not be wrong for the individual. Thus, in the fateful address to the 
Congress of the United States on April 2, 1917, advocating the 
declaration of war against the Imperial German Government, he 
said, after referring to his addresses of the 22d of January, of the 
3d of February, and of the 26th of February to the Congress : 

Our object now, as then, is to vindicate the principles of peace 
and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic 
power and to set up amongst the really free and self -governed peoples 
of the world such a concert of purpose and of action as will henceforth 
insure the observance of those principles. . . . We are at the begin- 
ning of an age in which it will be insisted that the same standards 
of conduct and of responsibility for wrong done shall be observed 


among nations and their governments that are observed among the 
individual citizens of civilized states. 

This standard which he set for others he has exacted of the 
United States; and to public opinion, which he asserts to be the 
greatest of forces, both he and the nation whereof he is the chief 
executive, have bowed. Thus, President Wikon urged the Congress 
to repeal the provision of the Panama Canal Act of August 24, 1912, 
exempting vessels engaged in the coastwise trade of the United States 
from the payment of tolls, on the ground that the exemption of 
American vessels — ^for it is only American vessels that can engage in 
the coastwise trade of the United States — if not contrary in fact 
to the provisions of the Hay-Pauncefote treaty of November 18, 
1901, between the United States and Great Britain, came nevertheless 
in conflict with the public opinion of the world and was inconsistent 
with the provisions of that treaty and therefore with the plighted word 
of the United States. In his address to the Congress on March 5, 
1914, he said : 

Whatever may be our own differences of opinion concerning this 
much debated measure, its meaning is not debated outside the United 
States. Everywhere else the language of the treaty is given but one 
interpretation, and that interpretation precludes the exemption I am 
asking you to repeal. We consented to the treaty ; its language we 
accepted, if we did not originate it ; and we are too big, too powerful, 
too self-respecting a nation to interpret with a too strained or refined 
reading the words of our own promises just because we have power 
enough to give us leave to read them as we please. The large thing 
to do is the only tlung we can afford to do, a voluntary witihdrawid 
from a position everywhere questioned and misunderstood. We 
ought to reverse our action without raising the question whether we 
were right or wrong, and so once more deserve our reputation for 
generosity and for the redemption of every obligation without quibble 
or hesitation. 

It will be observed that, in this statement of the case, a strained or 
even a defensible interpretation was not to be made in order to profit 
the United States, for morality and justice go hand in hand. An 
acquisition at the expense of morality and of justice and the posses- 
sions of nations are not to be seized by physical force, any more than 
the property of the individual is to be taken by the strong hand. 
This conception, axiomatic with President Wilson, has been repeatedly 
stated by him in his public addresses, and never more solemnly than 
in his address of April 2, 1917, to the Congress, advocating the war 
with Germany : 


We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no 
dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material com- 
pensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one 
of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied 
when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the 
freedom of nations can make them. 

Planting himself squarely upon the foundations of right, interna- 
tional as well as national, advocating for nations the standard of 
justice prevailing among individuals, disclaiming any acquisitions 
for his country which the law, even of his own country, as interpreted 
by the public opinion of mankind, did not permit, President Wilson 
might well say, as he did in his address of June 30, 1916, before the 
Press Club in the City of New York : 

So, gentlemen, I am willing, no matter what my personal fortunes 
may be, to play for the verdict of mankind. 


Washirgtoiv, D. C. 
January 11, 1918. 






AUGUST 27, 1918 

A sympathetic yet diBcrimiiuiting critic of Mexico, the late John W. 
Fofiter, formerly Secretary of State of the United States, was accustomed to say 
that the one great and fundamental mistake of the late Porfirio Diaz, President 
of Mexico from 1876-1880, 1884-1911, was that he did not educate his fellow- 
countrymen in the practice and the responsibilities of constitutional government, 
and that, because of his failure so to do, he was leaving his countrymen without 
training in government and without a leader to succeed him trained in a con- 
stitutional regime. From time to time rebellions broke out, which were 
speedily crushed. In 1911, however, a serious insurrection, under the leader- 
ship of Francisco I. Madero, caused President Diaz, his Vice-President and 
the members of his cabinet to resign; whereupon Francisco de la Barra, who 
had been appointed Secretary of State, succeeded to the presidency ad interim 
until an election could be held. At this election, held on October 15, 1911, Mr. 
Madero was chosen President of Mexico. A rebellion under the leadership of 
Felix Diaz, nephew of the late President, broke out, and as a consequence 
Madero and his Vice-President, yielding to the pressure of General Victoriano 
Huerta, resigned under duress and Huerta, Secretary of War, became by the 
resignation of Madero, the President, Vice-President and the Minister of Foreign 
Ajffairs, President ad interim. His authority as such was not recognized by 
his countrymen as a whole, although it might have been had not Madero and 
the Vice-President, on their way from the palace to the prison, been assas- 
sinated, in which assassination, rightly or wrongly, Huerta was implicated. 
Carranza, under Madero, Governor of the State of Chihuahua, opposed Huerta, 
and, gathering around him a strong body of partisans under the title of Con- 
Mtitutionaliete, he was eventually recognized by the United States as lE^esident 
de facto on October 19, 1915. He was elected President on March 11, 1917; an 
American Ambassador had in the meantime been appointed, on February 25, 
1916, and had repaired to Mexico, and on February 17, 1917, Carranza's govern- 
ment was recognized by the United States not merely as the de facto but as the 
duly constituted government of Mexico. 

Gentlemen op the Congress: 

It is clearly my duty to lay before you, very fully and 

without reservation, the facts concerning our present 

relations with the Republic of Mexico. The deplorable 

posture of affairs in Mexico I need not describe, but I 



deem it my duty to speak very frankly of what this 
Govermnent has done and should seek to do in fulfillment 
of its obligation to Mexico herself, as a friend and neigh- 
bor, and to American citizens whose lives and vital inter- 
ests are daily affected by the distressing conditions which 
now obtain beyond our southern border. 

Those conditions touch us very nearly. Not merely 
because they lie at our very doors. That of course makes 
us more vividly and more constantly conscious of them, 
and every instinct of neighborly interest and sympathy 
is aroused and quickened by them; but that is only one 
element in the determination of our duty. We are glad 
to call ourselves the friends of Mexico, and we shall, I 
hope, have many an occasion, in happier times as well as 
in these days of trouble and confusion, to show that our 
friendship is genuine and disinterested, capable of sacri- 
fice and every generous manifestation. The peace, pros- 
perity, and contentment of Mexico mean more, much 
more, to us than merely an enlarged field for our com- 
merce and enterprise. They mean an enlargement of the 
field of self-government and the realization of the hopes 
and rights of a nation with whose best aspirations, so 
long suppressed and disappointed, we deeply sympathize. 
We shall yet prove to the Mexican people that we know 
how to serve them without first thinking how we shall 
serve ourselves. 

But we are not the only friends of Mexico. The whole 
world desires her peace and progress; and the whole 
world is interested as never before. Mexico lies at last 
where all the world looks on. Central America is about 
to be touched by the great routes of the world's trade 


and intercourse running free from ocean to ocean at the 
Isthmus. The future has much in store for Mexico, as 
for all the States of Central America ; but the best gifts 
can come to her only if she be ready and free to receive 
them and to enjoy them honorably. America in particu- 
lar — ^America north and south and upon both continents — 
waits upon the development of Mexico ; and that devel- 
opment can be sound and lasting only if it be the product 
of a genuine freedom, a just and ordered government 
f oimded upon law. Only so can it be peaceful or f ruitfid 
of the benefits of peace. Mexico has a great and enviable 
future before her, if only she choose and attain the paths 
of honest constitutional government. 

The present circumstances of the Republic, I deeply 
regret to say, do not seem to promise even the f oimdationa 
of such a peace. We have waited many months, months 
full of peril and anxiety, for the conditions there to 
improve, and they have not improved. They have grown 
worse, rather. The territory in some sort controlled by 
the provisional authorities at Mexico City has grown 
smaller, not larger. The prospect of the pacification of 
the coimtry, even by arms, has seemed to grow more and 
more remote; and its pacification by the authorities at 
the capital is evidently impossible by any other means 
than force. DiflBiculties more and more entangle those 
who claim to constitute the legitimate government of the 
Republic. They have not made good their claim in fact. 
Their successes in the field have proved only temporary. 
War and disorder, devastation and confusion, seem to 
threaten to become the settled fortune of the distracted 
country. As friends we could wait no longer for a solu- 


tion which every week seemed further away. It was 
our duty at least to volunteer our good ofl&ces — ^to offer 
to assist, if we might, in effecting some arrangement 
which would bring relief and peace and set up a univer- 
sally acknowledged political authority there. 

Accordingly, I took the liberty of sending the Hon. 
John Lind, formerly governor of Minnesota, as my per- 
sonal spokesman and representative, to the City of 
Mexico, with the following instructions: 

** Press very earnestly upon the attention of those 
who are now exercising authority or wielding influ- 
ence in Mexico the following considerations and 
advice : 

**The Government of the United States does not feel 
at liberty any longer to stand inactively by while it 
becomes daily more and more evident that no real prog- 
ress is being made towards the establishment of a govern- 
ment at the City of Mexico which the country will obey 
and respect. 

"The Government of the United States does not 
stand in the same case with the other great Govern- 
ments of the world in respect of what is happening 
or what is likely to happen in Mexico. We offer our 
good ofl&ces, not only because of our genuine desire to 
play the part of a friend, but also because we are 
expected by the powers of the world to act as Mexico's 
nearest friend. 

"We wish to act in these circumstances in the spirit 
of the most earnest and disinterested friendship. It is 
our purpose in whatever we do or propose in this per- 
plexing and distressing situation not only to pay the 
most scrupulous regard to the sovereignty and inde- 
pendence of Mexico — ^that we take as a matter of course 
to which we are bound by every obligation of right and 


honor — but also to give every possible evidence that we 
act in the interest of Mexico alone, and not in the inter- 
est of any person or body of persons who may have per- 
sonal or property claims in Mexico which they may feel 
that they have the right to press. We are seeking to 
counsel Mexico for her own good and in the interest of 
her own peace, and not for any other purpose whatever. 
The Government of the United States would deem itself 
discredited if it had any selfish or ulterior purpose in 
transactions where the peace, happiness, and prosperity 
of a whole people are involved. It is acting as its 
friendship for Mexico, not as any selfish interest, 

"The present situation in Mexico is incompatible 
with the fulfillment of international obligations on the 
part of Mexico, with the civilized development of Mexico 
herself, and with the maintenance of tolerable political 
and economic conditions in Central America. It is 
upon no common occasion, therefore, that the United 
States offers her counsel and assistance. All America 
cries out for a settlement. 

**A satisfactory settlement seems to us to be condi- 
tioned on — 

** (a) An immediate cessation of fighting throughout 
Mexico, a definite armistice solemnly entered into and 
scrupulously observed; 

**(6) Security given for an early and free election 
in wMdi all will agree to take part ; 

**(c) The consent of Gen. Huerta to bind himself 
not to be a candidate for election as President of the 
Republic at this election ; and 

"(d) The agreement of all parties to abide by the 
results of the election and co-operate in the most loyal 
way in organizing and supporting the new administra- 


"The Govenunent of the United States will be glad 
to play any part in this settlement or in its carrying 
out which it can play honorably and consistently with 
international right. It pledges itself to recognize and 
in every way possible and proper to assist the adminis- 
tration chosen and set up in Mexico in the way and on 
the conditions suggested. 

"Taking all the existing conditions into considera- 
tion, the Government of the United States can conceive 
of no reasons sufficient to justify those who are now at- 
tempting to shape the policy or exercise the authority 
of Mexico in declining the offices of friendship thus 
offered. Can Mexico give the civilized world a satis- 
factory reason for rejecting our good offices ? If Mexico 
can suggest any better way in which to show our friend- 
ship, serve the people of Mexico, and meet our inter- 
national obligations, we are more than willing to con- 
sider the suggestion.'' 

Mr. Lind executed his delicate and difficult mission 
with singular tact, firmness, and good judgment, and 
made clear to the authorities at the City of Mexico not 
only the purpose of his visit but also the spirit in which 
it had been undertaken. But the proposals he submitted 
were rejected, in a note the full text of which I take the 
liberty of laying before you. 

I am led to believe that they were rejected partly 
because the authorities at Mexico City had been grossly 
misinformed and misled upon two points. They did not 
realize the spirit of the American people in this mat- 
ter, their earnest friendliness and yet sober determina- 
tion that some just solution be found for the Mexican 
difficulties; and they did not believe that the present 


admimstration spoke, through Mr. Lind, for the people 
of the United States. The effect of this unfortunate 
misunderstanding on their part is to leave them singu- 
larly isolated and without friends who can effectually 
aid them. So long as the misunderstanding continues 
we can only await the time of their awakening to a 
realization of the actual facts. We cannot thrust our 
good offices upon them. The situation must be given 
a little more time to work itself out in the new circum- 
stances; and I believe that only a little while will be 
necessary. For the circumstances are new. The rejec- 
tion of our friendship makes them new and will inevi- 
tably bring its own alterations in the whole aspect of 
affairs. The actual situation of the authorities at 
Mexico City will presently be revealed. 

Meanwhile, what is it our duty to do ? Clearly, every- 
thing that we do must be rooted in patience and done 
with calm and disinterested deliberation. Impatience 
on our part would be childish, and would be fraught 
with every risk of wrong and folly. We can afford to 
exercise the self-restraint of a really great nation which 
realizes its own strength and scorns to misuse it. It 
was our duty to offer our active assistance. It is now 
our duty to show what true neutrality will do to enable 
the people of Mexico to set their affairs in order again 
and wait for a further opportunity to offer our friendly 
counsels. The door is not closed against the resumption, 
either upon the initiative of Mexico or upon our own, 
of the effort to bring order out of the confusion by 
friendly co-operative action, should fortunate occasion 


While we wait the contest of the rival forces will 
undoubtedly for a little while be sharper than ever, just 
because it will be plain that an end must be made of the 
existing situation, and that very promptly ; and with the 
increased activity of the contending factions will come, 
it is to be feared, increased danger to the noncombatants 
in Mexico as well as to those actually in the field of 
battle. The position of outsiders is always particularly 
trying and full of hazard where there is civil strife 
and a whole country is upset. We should earnestly urge 
all Americans to leave Mexico at once, and should assist 
them to get away in every way possible — ^not because 
we would mean to slacken in the least our efforts to 
safeguard their lives and their interests, but because it 
is imperative that they should take no unnecessary risks 
when it is physically possible for them to leave the coun- 
try. We should let everyone who assumes to exercise 
authority in any part of Mexico know in the most 
unequivocal way that we shall vigilantly watch the f or- 
times of those Americans who cannot get away, and 
shall hold those responsible for their sufferings and 
losses to a definite reckoning. That can be and will be 
made plain beyond the possibility of a misunder- 

For the rest, I deem it my duty to exercise the 
authority conferred upon me by the law of March 14, 
1912, to see to it that neither side to the struggle now 
going on in Mexico receive any assistance from this 
side the border. I shall follow the best practice of 
nations in the matter of neutrality by forbidding the 
exportation of arms or munitions of war of any kind 


from the United States to any part of the Republic of 
Mexico — a policy suggested by several interesting prece- 
dents and certainly dictated by many manifest con- 
siderations of practical expediency. We cannot in the 
circumstances be the partisans of either party to the 
contest that now distracts Mexico, or constitute our- 
selves the virtual umpire between them. 

I am happy to say that several of the great Govern- 
ments of the world have given this Government their 
generous moral support in urging upon the provisional 
authorities at the City of Mexico the acceptance of our 
proffered good ofl&ces in the spirit in which they were 
made. We have not acted in this matter under the 
ordinary principles of international obligation. All 
the world expects us in such circumstances to act as 
Mexico's nearest friend and intimate adviser. This is 
our immemorial relation towards her. There is nowhere 
any serious question that we have the moral right in the 
case or that we are acting in the interest of a fair settle- 
ment and of good government, not for the promotion of 
some selfish interest of our own. If further motive 
were necessary than our own good will towards a sister 
Republic and our own deep concern to see peace and 
order prevail in Central America, this consent of man- 
kind to what we are attempting, this attitude of the 
great nations of the world towards what we may attempt 
in dealing with this distressed people at our doors, 
should make us feel the more solemnly bound to go to 
the utmost length of patience and forbearance in this 
painful and anxious business. The steady pressure of 
moral force will before many days break the barriers 


of pride and prejudice down, and we shall triumph as 
Mexico's friends sooner than we could triumph as her 
enemies — ^and how much more handsomely, with how 
much higher and finer satisfactions of conscience and of 
honor I 




An American reader does not need to be informed that the independence of 
the United States was proclaimed in Philadelphia July 4, 1776, and that the 
building in which the Continental Congress then met is called Independence Hall 
because of this Declaration. In that building the Congress regularly sat in the 
early and stormy days of the Revolution, and in that building the Congress of the 
United States held its sessions from 1790 to 1800, when the seat of government 
was transferred from Philadelphia to Washington in the District of Columbia. 
The rooms occupied by the Continental Congress have been preserved in their 
original condition and opened to the public. Not so the building connected with 
Independence Hall, in which the Congress of Washington's and Adams' adminis- 
trations assembled. 

The Congress that met in Philadelphia during the first two administra- 
tions of the Republic has claims upon our remembrance, and the good people of 
Philadelphia were happily inspired when they decided to restore the original 
form and condition of these quarters. This was speedily, successfully, and 
admirably done, and the building known as Congress Hall was dedicated on 
October 25, 1913, in the presence of a distinguished gathering, on which occa- 
sion President Wilson, on behalf of the Government, delivered the following 

YouB Honor, Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen: 
No American could stand in this place to-day and 
think of the circumstances which we are come together 
to celebrate without being most profoundly stirred. 
There has come over me since I sat down here a sense 
of deep solemnity, because it has seemed to me that I 
saw ghosts crowding — a great ^^ssemblage of spirits, 
no longer visible, but whose influence we still feel as we 
feel the molding power of history itself. The men who 
sat in this hall, to whom we now look back with a touch 
of deep sentiment, were men of flesh and blood, face 
to face with extremely difficult problems. The popu- 
lation of the United States then was hardly three times 



the present population of the city of Philadelphia, and 
yet that was a Nation as this is a Nation, and the men 
who spoke for it were setting their hands to a work 
which was to last, not only that their people might be 
happy, but that an example might be lifted up for the 
instruction of the rest of the world. 

I like to read the quaint old accounts such as Mr. 
Day has read to us this afternoon. Strangers came 
then to America to see what the young people that had 
sprung up here were like, and they found men in coun- 
sel who knew how to construct governments. They 
found men deliberating here who had none of the 
appearance of novices, none of the hesitation of men 
who did not know whether the work they were doing 
was going to last or not ; men who addressed themselves 
to a problem of construction as familiarly as we attempt 
to carry out the traditions of a Government established 
these 137 years. 

I feel to-day the compulsion of these men, the com- 
pulsion of examples which were set up in this place. 
And of what do their examples remind us? They re- 
mind us not merely of public service but of public 
service shot through with principle and honor. They 
were not histrionic men. They did not say — 

Look upon us as upon those who shall hereafter be 

They said: 

"Look upon us who are doing the first free work of 
constitutional liberty in the world, and who must do it 
in soberness and truth, or it will not last.'* 


Politics, ladies and gentlemen, is made up in just 
about equal parts of comprehension and sympathy. No 
man ought to go into politics who does not comprehend 
the task that he is going to attack. He may compre- 
hend it so completely that it daunts him, that he doubts 
whether his own spirit is stout enough and his own mind 
able enough to attempt its great undertakings, but un- 
less he comprehend it he ought not to enter it. After 
he has comprehended it, there should come into his 
mind those profound impulses of sympathy which con- 
nect him with the rest of mankind, for politics is a 
business of interpretation, and no men are fit for it who 
do not see and seek more than their own advantage and 

We have stimibled upon many unhappy circum- 
stances in the hundred years that have gone by since 
the event that we are celebrating. Almost all of them 
have come from self-centered men, men who saw in 
their own interest the interest of the country, and who 
did not have vision enough to read it in wider terms, in 
the universal terms of equity and justice and the rights 
of mankind. I hear a great many people at Fourth of 
July celebrations laud the Declaration of Independence 
who in between Julys shiver at the plain language of 
our bills of rights. The Declaration of Independence 
was, indeed, the first audible breath of liberty; but the 
substance of liberty is written in such documents as the 
declaration of rights attached, for example, to the first 
constitution of Virginia which was a model for the 
similar documents read elsewhere into our great funda- 
mental charters. That document speaks in very plain 


terms. The men of that generation did not hesitate 
to say that every people has a right to choose its own 
forms of government — not once, but as often as it 
pleases — and to accommodate those forms of govern- 
ment to its existing interests and circmnstances. Not 
only to establish but to alter is the fundamental prin- 
ciple of self-government. 

We are just as much under compulsion to study the 
particular circumstances of our own day as the gentle- 
men were who sat in this hall and set us precedents, 
not of what to do but of how to do it. Liberty inheres 
in the circumstances of the day. Human happiness con- 
sists in the life which human beings are leading at the 
time that they live. I can feed my memory as hap- 
pily upon the circumstances of the revolutionary and 
constitutional period as you can, but I cannot feed all 
my purposes with them in Washington now. Every 
day problems arise which wear some new phase and 
aspect, and I must fall back, if I would serve my con- 
science, upon those things which are fundamental rather 
than upon those things which are superficial, and ask 
myself this question, How are you going to assist in 
some small part to give the American people and, by 
example, the peoples of the world more liberty, more 
happiness, more substantial prosperity; and how are 
you going to make that prosperity a common heritage 
instead of a selfish possession? I came here to-day 
partly in order to feed my own spirit. I did not come 
in compliment. When I was asked to come I knew 
immediately upon the utterance of the invitation that 
I had to come, that to be absent would be as if I refused 


to drink once more at the original fountains of inspira- 
tion for our own Government. 

The men of the day which we now celebrate had a 
very great advantage over us, ladies and gentlemen, in 
this one particular: Life was simple in America then. 
All men shared the same circumstances in almost equal 
degree. We think of Washington, for example, as an 
aristocrat, as a man separated by training, separated by 
family and neighborhood tradition, from the ordinary 
people of the rank and file of the country. Have you 
forgotten the personal history of George Washington? 
Do you not know that he struggled as poor boys now 
struggle for a meager and imperfect education ; that he 
worked at his surveyor's tasks in the lonely forests; 
that he knew all the roughness, all the hardships, all 
the adventure, all the variety of the common life of that 
day; and that if he stood a little stiffly in this place, if 
he looked a little aloof, it was because life had dealt 
hardly with him? All his sinews had been stiffened by 
the rough work of making America. He was a man 
of the people, whose touch had been with them since 
the day he saw the light first in the old Dominion of 
Virginia. And the men who came after him, men, some 
of whom had drunk deep at the sources of philosophy 
and of study, were, nevertheless, also men who on this 
side of the water knew no complicated life but the simple 
life of primitive neighborhoods. Our task is very much 
more difficult. That sympathy which alone interprets 
public duty is more difficult for a public man to acquire 
now than it was then, because we live in the midst of 
circumstances and conditions infinitely complex. 


No man can boast that he understands America, No 
man can boast that he has lived the life of America, 
as ahnost every man who sat in this hall in those days 
could boast. No man can pretend that except by com- 
mon counsel he can gather into his consciousness what 
the varied life of this people is. The duty that we have 
to keep open eyes and open hearts and accessible under- 
standings is a very much more difl&cult duty to perform 
than it was in their day. Yet how much more impor- 
tant that it should be performed, for fear we make 
infinite and irreparable blunders. The city of Wash- 
ington is in some respects self-contained, and it is easy 
there to forget what the rest of the United States is 
thinking about. I count it a fortunate circumstance 
that almost all the windows of the White House and 
its ofl&ces open upon unoccupied spaces that stretch to 
the banks of the Potomac and then out into Virginia 
and on to the heavens themselves, and that as I sit there 
I can constantly forget Washington and remember the 
United States. Not that I would intimate that all of 
the United States lies south of Washington, but there 
is a serious thing back of my thought. J£ you think 
too much about being re-elected, it is very difficult to 
be worth re-electing. You are so apt to forget that the 
comparatively small number of persons, numerous as 
they seem to be when they swarm, who come to Wash- 
ington to ask for things, do not constitute an important 
proportion of the population of the country, that it is 
constantly necessary to come away from Washington 
and renew one's contact with the people who do not 
swarm there, who do not ask for anything, but who do 


trust you without their personal counsel to do your 
duty. Unless a man gets these contacts he grows weaker 
and weaker. He needs them as Hercules needed the 
touch of mother earth. If you lift him up too high or 
he lifts himself too high, he loses the contact and there* 
fore loses the inspiration. 

I love to think of those plain men, however far from 
plain their dress sometimes was, who assembled in this 
hall. One is startled to think of the variety of cos- 
tume and color which would now occur if we were let 
loose upon the fashions of that age. Men's lack of 
taste is largely concealed now by the limitations of 
fashion. Yet these men, who sometimes dressed like 
the peacock, were, nevertheless, of the ordinary flight 
of their time. They were birds of a feather ; they were 
birds come from a very simple breeding; they were 
much in the open heaven. They were beginning, when 
there was so little to distract their attention, to show 
that they could live upon fundamental principles of 
government. We talk those principles, but we have not 
time to absorb them. We have not time to let them into 
our blood, and thence have them translated into the 
plain mandates of action. 

The very smallness of this room, the very simplicity 
of it all, all the suggestions which come from its restora- 
tion, are reassuring things — ^things which it becomes a 
man to realize. Therefore my theme here to-day, my 
only thought, is a very simple one. Do not let us go 
back to the annals of those sessions of Congress to find 
out what to do, because we live in another age and the 
circumstances are absolutely different; but let us be 


men of that kind; let us feel at every turn the com- 
pulsions of principle and of honor which they felt; let 
us free our vision from temporary circumstances and 
look abroad at the horizon and take into our lungs the 
great air of freedom which has blown through this 
country and stolen across the seas and blessed people 
everywhere; and, looking east and west and north 
south, let us remind ourselves that we are the custodians 
in some degree, of the principles which have made 
free and governments just 


The Southern Commercial Congress was organized Deoemher 8, 1908, in 
the City of Washington, District of Columbia, primarily, as its name indicates, 
for the interests of the South — which are, however, inextricably bound up with 
the interests of all the States of the Union. Its annual meetings are notable 
occasions, and not the least notable was the meeting at Mobile, Alabama, in 
October, 1913, where President Wilson delivered an address largely dealing with 
the relations which should exist between the United States and the other Repub- 
lics of the New World, an address which the peoples of those Republics considered 

Tour Excellency, Mr. Chairman: 

It is with unaffected pleaBure that I find myself 
here to-day. I once before had the pleasure, in another 
southern city, of addressing the Southern Gommercial 
Congress. I then spoke of what the future seemed to 
liold in store for this region, which so many of us love 
and toward the future of which we all look forward 
'with, so much confidence and hope. But another theme 
directed me here this time. I do not need to speak of 
iJie South. She has, perhaps, acquired the gift of speak- 
ing for herself. I come because I want to speak of our 
j>resent and prospective relations with our neighbors to 
tlie south. I deemed it a public duty, as well as a 
I>€rsonal pleasure, to be here to express for myself and 
for the Government I represent the welcome we all feel 
t:o those who represent the Latin American States. 

The future, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be very 
^iifferent for this hemisphere from the past. These 



States lying to the south of us, which have always been 
our neighbors, will now be drawn closer to us by in- 
numerable ties, and, I hope, chief of all, by the tie of a 
common understanding of each other. Interest does 
not tie nations together; it sometimes separates them. 
But sympathy and understanding does unite them, and 
I believe that by the new route that is just about to be 
opened, while we physically cut two continents asunder, 
we spiritually imite them. It is a spiritual imion which 
we seek. 

I wonder if you realize, I wonder if your imagina- 
tions have been filled with the significance of the tides 
of commerce. Tour governor alluded in very fit and 
striking terms to the voyage of Columbus, but Columbus 
took his voyage under compulsion of circumstances. 
Constantinople had been captured by the Turks and all 
the routes of trade with the East had been suddenly 
closed. If there was not a way across the Atlantic 
to open those routes again, they were closed forever, 
and Colmnbus set out not to discover America, for he 
did not know that it existed, but to discover the eastern 
shores of Asia. He set sail for Cathay and stumbled 
upon America. With that change in the outlook of the 
world, what happened? England, that had been at the 
back of Europe with an unknown sea behind her, found 
that all things had turned as if upon a pivot and she 
was at the front of Europe ; and since then all the tides 
of energy and enterprise that have issued out of Europe 
have seemed to be turned westward across the Atlantic. 
But you will notice that they have turned westward 
chiefly north of the Equator and that it is the northern 


half of the globe that has seemed to be filled with the 
media of intercourse and of sympathy and of common 

Do you not see now what is about to happen 1 These 
great tides which have been running along parallels of 
latitude will now swing southward athwart parallels 
of latitude, and that opening gate at the Isthmus of 
Panama will open the world to a conmierce that she has 
not known before, a conmierce of intelligence, of thought 
and sympathy between North and South, The Latin 
American States, which, to their disadvantage, have been 
off the main lines, will now be on the main lines. I 
feel that these gentlemen honoring us with their pres- 
ence to-day will presently find that some part, at any 
rate, of the center of gravity of the world has shifted. 
Do you realize that New York, for example, will be 
nearer the western coast of South America than she is 
now to the eastern coast of South America? Do you 
realize that a line drawn northward parallel with the 
greater part of the western coast of South America will 
run only about 150 miles west of New York 1 The great 
bulk of South America, if you will look at your globes 
(not at yoiur Mercator^s projection), lies eastward of 
the continent of North America. You will realize that 
when you realize that the canal will run southeast, not 
southwest, and that when you get into the Pacific you 
will be farther east than you were when you left the 
Gulf of Mexico. These things are significant, there- 
fore, of this, that we are closing one chapter in the 
history of the world and are opening another, of great, 
unimaginable significance. 


There is one peculiarity about the history of the 
Latin American States which I am sure they are keenly 
aware of. You hear of ** concessions'' to foreign capi- 
talists in Latin America. You do not hear of conces- 
sions to foreign capitalists in the United States. They 
are not granted concessions. They are invited to make 
investments. The work is ours, though they are wel- 
come to invest in it. We do not ask them to supply the 
capital and do the work. It is an invitation, not a 
privilege; and States that are obliged, because their 
territory does not lie within the main field of modem 
enterprise and action, to grant concessions are in this 
condition, that foreign interests are apt to dominate 
their domestic affairs, a condition of affairs always dan- 
gerous and apt to become intolerable. What these 
States are going to see, therefore, is an emancipation 
from the subordination, which has been inevitable, to 
foreign enterprise and an assertion of the splendid 
character which, in spite of these difficulties, they have 
again and again been able to demonstrate. The dig- 
nity, the courage, the self-possession, the self-respect 
of the Latin American States, their achievements in 
the face of all these adverse circumstances, deserve 
nothing but the admiration and applause of the world. 
They have had harder bargains driven with them in the 
matter of loans than any other peoples in the world. 
Interest has been exacted of them that was not exacted 
of anybody else, because the risk was said to be greater ; 
and then securities were taken that destroyed the risk — 
an admirable arrangement for those who were forcing 
the terms 1 I rejoice in nothing so much as in the pros- 


pect that they will now be emancipated from these 
conditions, and we ought to be the first to take part in 
assisting in that emancipation. I think some of these 
gentlemen have already had occasion to bear witness 
that the Department of State in recent months has tried 
to serve them in that wise. In the future they will 
draw closer and closer to us because of circiunstances 
of which I wish to speak with moderation and, I hope, 
without indiscretion. 

We must prove ourselves their friends and cham- 
pions upon terms of equality and honor. You cannot 
be friends upon any other terms than upon the terms of 
equality. You cannot be friends at all except upon the 
terms of honor. We must show ourselves friends by 
comprehending their interest whether it squares with 
our own interest or not. It is a very perilous thing 
to determine the foreign policy of a nation in the terms 
of material interest. It not only is unfair to those with 
whom you are dealing, but it is degrading as regards 
your own actions. 

Comprehension must be the soil in which shall grow 
all the fruits of friendship; and there is a reason and a 
compidsion lying behind all this which is dearer than 
anything else to the thoughtful men of America. I 
mean the development of constitutional liberty in the 
world. Human rights, national integrity, and oppor- 
tunity as against material interests — ^that, ladies and 
gentlemen, is the issue which we now have to face. I 
want to take this occasion to say that the United States 
will never again seek one additional foot of territory by 
conquest. She will devote herself to showing that she 


knows how to make honorable and fruitful use of the 
territory she has, and she must regard it as one of the 
duties of friendship to see that from no quarter are 
material interests made superior to human liberty and 
national opportunity. I say this, not with a single 
thought that anyone will gainsay it, but merely to fix 
in oiur consciousness what our real relationship with the 
rest of America is. It is the relationship of a family 
of mankind devoted to the development of true con- 
stitutional liberty. We know that that is the soil out 
of which the best enterprise springs. We know that 
this is a cause which we are making in conmion with 
oiur neighbors, because we have had to make it for 

Reference has been made here to-day to some of 
the national problems which confront us as a nation. 
What is at the heart of all our national problems? it 
is that we have seen the hand of material interest some- 
times about to close upon our dearest rights and posses- 
sions. We have seen material interests threaten con- 
stitutional freedom in the United States. Therefore we 
will now know how to sympathize with those in the rest 
of America who have to contend with such powers, not 
only within their borders but from outside their borders 

I know what the response of the thought and heart 
of America will be to the program I have outlined, 
because America was created to realize a program like 
that. This is not America because it is rich. This is 
not America because it has set up for a great popula* 
tion great opportunities of material prosperity. Amer- 


ica is a name which sounds in the ears of men every- 
where as a synonym with individual opportunity 
because a synonym of individual liberty. I would 
rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a 
rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty. 
But we shall not be poor if we love liberty, because 
the nation that loves liberty truly sets every man 
free to do his best and be his best, and that means the 
release of all the splendid energies of a great people 
who think for themselves. A nation of employees 
cannot be free any more than a nation of employers 
can be. 

In emphasizing the points which must unite us in 
sympathy and in spiritual interest with the Latin Amer- 
ican peoples we are only emphasizing the points of our 
own life, and we should prove ourselves untrue to our 
own traditions if we proved ourselves untrue friends 
to them. Do not think, therefore, gentlemen, that the 
questions of the day are mere questions of policy and 
diplomacy. They are shot through with the principles 
of life. We dare not turn from the principle that 
morality and not expediency is the thing that must 
guide us and that we will never condone iniquity be- 
cause it is most convenient to do so. It seems to me 
that this is a day of infinite hope, of confidence in a 
future greater than the past has been, for I am fain to 
believe that in spite of all the things that we wish to 
correct the nineteenth century that now lies behind us 
has brought us a long stage toward the time when, 
slowly ascending the tedious climb that leads to the 
final uplands, we shall get our ultimate view of the 


duties of mankind. We have breasted a considerable 
part of that dimb and shall presently — ^it may be in a 
generation or two — come out upon those great heights 
where there shines unobstructed the light of the justice 
of God. 




Mb. Speaker, Mb. Pbesident, Gentlemen of the 
In pursuance of my constitutional duty to **give to 
the Congress information of the state of the Union,'* 
I take the liberty of addressing you on several matters 
which ought, as it seems to me, particularly to engage 
the attention of your honorable bodies, as of all who 
study the welfare and progress of the Nation. 

I shall ask your indulgence if I venture to depart 
in some degree from the usual custom of setting before 
you in formal review the many matters which have 
engaged the attention and called for the action of the 
several departments of the Government or which look 
to them for early treatment in the future, because the 
list is long, very long, and would suJBEer in the abbrevi- 
ation to which I should have to subject it. I shall sub- 
mit to you the reports of the heads of the several 
departments, in which these subjects are set forth in 
careful detail, and beg that they may receive the 
':houghtful attention of your committees and of all 
\Iembers of the Congress who may have the leisure to 
tudy them. Their obvious importance, as constituting 
le very substance of the business of the Government, 
akes conmient and emphasis on my part unnecessary. 

* Only that part of the address is given which concerns international rela- 




The country, I am thankful to say, is at peace with 
all the world, and many happy manifestations multiply 
about us of a growing cordiality and sense of com- 
munity of interest among the nations, foreshadowing 
an age of settled peace and good will. More and more 
readily each decade do the nations manifest their will- 
ingness to bind themselves by solemn treaty to the 
processes of peace, the processes of frankness and fair 
concession. So far the United States has stood at the 
front of such negotiations. She will, I earnestly hope 
and confidently believe, give fresh proof of her sincere 
adherence to the cause of international friendship by 
ratifying the several treaties of arbitration awaiting 
renewal by the Senate. In addition to these, it has 
been the privilege of the Department of State to gain 
the assent, in principle, of no less than 31 nations, rep- 
resenting four-fifths of the population of the world, to 
the negotiation of treaties by which it shall be agreed 
that whenever differences of interest or of policy arise 
which cannot be resolved by the ordinary processes of 
diplomacy they shall be publicly analyzed, discussed, 
and reported upon by a tribunal chosen by the parties 
before either nation determines its course of action. 

There is only one possible standard by which to 
determine controversies between the United States and 
other nations, and that is compounded of these two 
elements: Our own honor and our obligations to the 
peace of the world. A test so compounded ought easily 
to be made to govern both the establishment of new 
treaty obligations and the interpretation of those 
already assumed. 


There is but one doud upon our horizon. That has 
shown itself to the south of us, and hangs over Mexico. 
There can be no certain prospect of peace in America 
until Gen. Huerta has surrendered his usurped author- 
ity in Mexico; until it is understood on all hands, 
indeed, that such pretended governments will not be 
countenanced or dealt with by the Government of the 
United States. We are the friends of constitutional 
government in America; we are more than its friends, 
we are its champions ; because in no other way can our 
neighbors, to whom we would wish in every way to 
make proof of oiur friendship, work out their own 
development in peace and liberty. Mexico has no Gov- 
ernment. The attempt to maintain one at the City of 
Mexico has broken down, and a mere military des- 
potism has been set up which has hardly more than 
the semblance of national authority. It originated in 
the usurpation of Victoriano Huerta, who, after a brief 
attempt to play the part of constitutional President, 
has at last cast aside even the pretense of legal right 
and declared himself dictator. As a consequence, a 
condition of affairs now exists in Mexico which has 
noiade it doubtful whether even the most elementary 
and fundamental rights either of her own people or 
of the citizens of other countries resident within her 
territory can long be successfully safeguarded, and 
which threatens, if long continued, to imperil the inter- 
ests of peace, order, and tolerable life in the lands 
immediately to the south of us. Even if the usurper 
had succeeded in his purposes, in despite of the con- 
stitution of the Republic and the rights of its people, 


he would have set up nothing but a precarious and 
hateful power, which could have lasted but a little 
while, and whose eventual downfall would have left the 
country in a more deplorable condition than ever. But 
he has not succeeded. He has forfeited the respect and 
the moral support even of those who were at one time 
willing to see him succeed. Little by little he has been 
completely isolated. By a little every day his power 
and prestige are crumbling and the collapse is not far 
away. We shall not, I believe, be obliged to alter our 
policy of watchful waiting. And then, when the end 
comes, we shall hope to see constitutional order restored 
in distressed Mexico by the concert and energy of such 
of her leaders as prefer the liberty of their people to 
their own ambitions. . . . 




MARCH 5, 1014 

On August 24, 1012, a bill was approved by President TM, entitled, "An 
Act to provide for the openings maintenance^ protection, and operation of the 
Panama Canal and the sanitation and government of the Canal Zone." This 
bill contained a provision that American ships engaged in the coastwise trade 
should be exempt from the payment of tolls. Qreat Britain claimed that the ex- 
emption of American coast-wise shipping from the payment of tolls was a viola- 
tion of the terms of the Hay-Pauncefote treaty between Great Britain and the 
United States signed November 18, 1901, and proclaimed February 18, 1902. 
Largely through the energy of Senator Boot, a sentiment was created in favor 
of the repeal of this section of the Act, which gained irresistible momentum by 
President Wilson's advocacsy of this measure. A bill to this effect was passed 
by both Houses and approved by him June 16, 1914. In the interval, on March 
6, 1914, he appeared in person before the Congress and delivered the following 

Gentlemen of the Gongkess: 

I have come to you upon an errand which can be 
very briefly performed, but I beg that you will not 
measure its importance by the number of sentences in 
which I state it. No communication I have addressed 
to the Congress carried with it graver or more far- 
reaching implications as to the interest of the country, 
and I come now to speak upon a matter with regard 
to which I am charged in a peculiar degree, by the 
Constitution itself, with personal responsibility. 

I have come to ask you for the repeal of that pro- 
vision of the Panama Canal Act of August 24, 1912, 
which exempts vessels engaged in the coastwise trade 
of the United States from payment of tolls, and to 
urge upon you the justice, the wisdom, and the large 
policy of such a repeal with the utmost earnestness of 
which I am capable. 



In my own judgment, very fully considered and 
maturely formed, that exemption constitutes a mistaken 
economic policy from every point of view, and is, more- 
over, in plain contravention of the treaty with Great 
Britain concerning the canal concluded on November 
18, 1901, But I have not come to urge upon you my 
personal views. I have come to state to you a fact 
and a situation. Whatever may be our own differ- 
ences of opinion concerning this much debated measure, 
its meaning is not debated outside the United States. 
Everywhere else the language of the treaty is given 
but one interpretation, and that interpretation pre- 
cludes the exemption I am asking you to repeal. We 
consented to the treaty; its language we accepted, if 
we did not originate it; and we are too big, too power- 
ful, too self-respecting a nation to interpret with a 
too strained or refined reading the words of our own 
promises just because we have power enough to give 
us leave to read them as we please. The large thing 
to do is the only thing we can afford to do, a volun- 
tary withdrawal from a position everywhere questioned 
and misunderstood. We ought to reverse our action 
without raising the question whether we were right or 
wrong, and so once more deserve our reputation for 
generosity and for the redemption of every obligation 
without quibble or hesitation. 

I ask this of you in support of the foreign policy 
of the administration. I shall not know how to deal 
with other matters of even greater delicacy and nearer 
consequence if you do not grant it to me in ungrudging 


Gentlemen of the Gonqbess : 

It is my duty to call your attention to a situation 
which has arisen in our dealings with General Victoriano 
Huerta at Mexico City which calls for action, and to 
ask your advice and co-operation in acting upon it. 
On the 9th of April a paymaster of the U. S. S, Dol- 
phin landed at the Iturbide Bridge landing at Tampico 
with a whaleboat and boat's crew to take off certain 
supplies needed by his ship, and while engaged in 
loading the boat was arrested by an of&cer and squad 
of men of the army of General Huerta. Neither the 
paymaster nor anyone of the boat's crew was armed. 
Two of the men were in the boat when the arrest took 
place and were obliged to leave it and submit to be 
taken into custody, notwithstanding the fact that the 
boat carried, both at her bow and at her stem, the flag 
of the United States. The ofl&cer who made the arrest 
was proceeding up one of the streets of the town with 
his prisoners when met by an ofl&cer of higher authority, 
who ordered him to return to the landing and await 
orders; and within an hour and a half from the time 
of the arrest orders were received from the commander 

* For an elaborate and 83rmpathetic statement of President Wilson's Mex- 
ican policy see an interview with the Honorable Franklin R. Lane, Secretary 
of the Interior, contained in the Appendix to this volume, pp. 392-406. 



of the Huertista forces at Tampico for the release of 
the paymaster and his men. The release was followed 
by apologies from the commander and later by an 
expression of regret by General Huerta himself. Gen- 
eral Huerta urged that martial law obtained at the 
time at Tampico; that orders had been issued that no 
one should be allowed to land at the Iturbide Bridge; 
and that our sailors had no right to land there. Our 
naval commanders at the port had not been notified 
of any such prohibition; and, even if they had been, 
the only justifiable course open to the local authorities 
would have been to request the paymaster and his crew 
to withdraw and to lodge a protest with the command- 
ing officer of the fieet. Admiral Mayo regarded the 
arrest as so serious an affront that he was not satis- 
fied with the apologies offered, but demanded that the 
fiag of the United States be saluted with special cere- 
mony by the military commander of the port. 

The incident cannot be regarded as a trivial one, 
especially as two of the men arrested were taken from 
the boat itself — ^that is to say, from the territory of the 
United States — ^but had it stood by itself it might have 
been attributed to the ignorance or arrogance of a 
single officer. Unfortunately, it was not an isolated 
case. A series of incidents have recently occurred 
which cannot but create the impression that the repre- 
sentatives of General Huerta were willing to go out 
of their way to show disregard for the dignity and 
rights of this Government and felt perfectly safe in 
doing what they pleased, making free to show in many 
ways their irritation and contempt. A few days after 


the incident at Tampico an orderly from the U. S. S. 
Minnesota was arrested at Vera Cruz while ashore in 
uniform to obtain the ship's mail, and was for a time 
thrown into jail. An of&cial dispatch from this Gov- 
ernment to its embassy at Mexico City was withheld 
by the authorities of the telegraphic service until per- 
emptorily demanded by our charg6 d'affaires in person. 
So far as I can learn, such wrongs and annoyances have 
been suffered to occur only against representatives of 
the United States. I have heard of no complaints from 
other Governments of similar treatment. Subsequent 
explanations and formal apologies did not and could 
not alter the popular impression, which it is possible 
it had been the object of the Huertista authorities to 
create, that the Government of the United States was 
being singled out, and might be singled out with im- 
pimity, for slights and affronts in retaliation for its 
refusal to recognize the pretensions of General Huerta 
to be regarded as the constitutional provisional Presi- 
dent of the Republic of Mexico. 

The manifest danger of such a situation was that 
such offenses might grow from bad to worse imtil some- 
thing happened of so gross and intolerable a sort as to 
lead directly and inevitably to armed conflict. It was 
necessary that the apologies of General Huerta and 
his representatives should go much further, that they 
should be such as to attract the attention of the whole 
population to their significance, and such as to impress 
upon General Huerta himself the necessity of seeing 
to it that no further occasion for explanations and pro- 
fessed regrets should arise. I, therefore, felt it my duty 


to sustain Admiral Mayo in the whole of his demand 
and to insist that the flag of the United States should 
be saluted in such a way as to indicate a new spirit 
and attitude on the part of the Huertistas. 

Such a salute General Huerta has refused, and I 
have come to ask your approval and support in the 
course I now purpose to pursue. 

This Government can, I earnestly hope, in no cir- 
cumstances be forced into war with the people of 
Mexico. Mexico is torn by civil strife. If we are to 
accept the tests of its own constitution, it has no gov- 
ernment. General Huerta has set his power up in the 
City of Mexico, such as it is, without right and by 
methods for which there can be no justification. Only 
part of the coimtry is imder his control. If armed 
conflict should unhappily come as a result of his atti- 
tude of personal resentment toward this Government, 
we should be flghting only General Huerta and those 
who adhere to him and give him their support, and our 
object would be only to restore to the people of the 
distracted Republic the opportunity to set up again 
their own laws and their own government. 

But I earnestly hope that war is not now in ques- 
tion. I believe that I speak for the American people 
when I say that we do not desire to control in any 
degree the affairs of our sister Eepublic. Our feeling 
for the people of Mexico is one of deep and genuine 
friendship, and everything that we have so far done 
or refrained from doing has proceeded from our desire 
to help them, not to hinder or embarrass them. We 
would not wish even to exercise the good of&ces of 


friendship without their welcome and consent. The 
people of Mexico are entitled to settle their own do- 
mestic affairs in their own way, and we sincerely desire 
to respect their right. The present situation need have 
none of the grave implications of interference if we 
deal with it promptly, firmly, and wisely. 

No doubt I could do what is necessary in the cir- 
cumstances to enforce respect for our Government 
without recourse to the Congress, and yet not exceed 
my constitutional powAis as President; but I do not 
wish to act in a matter possibly of so grave consequence 
except in dose conference and co-operation with both 
the Senate and House. I, therefore, come to ask your 
approval that I should use the armed forces of the 
United States in such ways and to such an extent as 
may be necessary to obtain from General Huerta and 
his adherents the fullest recognition of the rights and 
dignity of the United States, even amidst the distress- 
ing conditions now unhappily obtaining in Mexico. 

There can in what we do be no thought of aggres- 
sion or of selfish aggrandizement. We seek to main- 
tain the dignity and authority of the United States 
only because we wish always to keep our great infiu- 
ence unimpaired for the uses of liberty, both in the 
United States and wherever else it may be employed 
for the benefit of mankind. 





MAY 11, 1914 

In order to prevent the delivery to General Huerta's (Government of a cargo 
of supplies and ammunition, brought from Europe by the German steamer 
Yprwga, President Wilson, on April 21, 1914, ordered a detachment of American 
marines on board the U.S.S. Prairie and the U.S.8. Florida to land at Vera 
Cruz and to seize the Custom House in that city. This they did at the loss of 
nineteen killed and seventy wounded. The bodies of the marines were brought 
to the United States for burial, and at their memorial service President Wilaon 
delivered the following address. 

Mr. Secketary: 

I know that the feelings which characterize all who 
stand about me and the whole Nation at this hour are 
not feelings which can be suitably expressed in terms of 
attempted oratory or eloquence. They are things too 
deep for ordinary speech. For my own part, I have a 
singular mixture of feelings. The feeling that is upper- 
most is one of prof oimd grief that these lads should have 
had to go to their death; and yet there is mixed with 
that grief a profound pride that they should have gone 
as they did, and, if I may say it out of my heart, a toudi 
of envy of those who were permitted so quietly, so nobly, 
to do their duty. Have you thought of it, men? Here 
is the roster of the Navy — ^the list of the men, officers and 
enlisted men and marines — and suddenly there swim 
nineteen stars out of the list — ^men who have suddenly 
been lifted into a firmament of memory where we shall 



always see their names shine, not because they called 
upon us to admire them, but because they served us, 
without asking any questions and in the performance of 
a duty which is laid upon us as weU as upon them. 

Duty is not an imcommon thing, gentlemen. Men are 
performing it in the ordinary walks of life all aroimd us 
all the time, and they are making great sacrij&ces to per- 
form it. What gives men like these peculiar distinction 
is not merely that they did their duty, but that their 
duty had nothing to do with them or their own personal 
and peculiar interests. They did not give their lives for 
themselves. They gave their lives for us, because we 
called upon them as a Nation to perform an imexpected 
duty. That is the way in which men grow distinguished, 
and that is the only way, by serving somebody else than 
themselves. And what greater thing could you serve 
than a Nation such as this we love and are proud of? 
Are you sorry for these lads? Are you sorry for the 
way they will be remembered? Does it not quicken your 
pulses to think of the list of them? I hope to God none 
of you may join the list, but if you do you will join an 
immortal company. 

So, while we are prof oimdly sorrowful, and while 
there goes out of our hearts a very deep and affectionate 
sympathy for the friends and relatives of these lads who 
for the rest of their lives shall mourn them, though with 
a touch of pride, we know why we do not go away from 
this occasion cast down, but with our heads lifted and 
our eyes on the future of this coimtry, with absolute 
confidence of how it will be worked out. Not only upon 
the mere vague future of this coimtry, but upon the 


immediate future. We have gone down to Mexico to 
serve mankind if we can find out the way. We do not 
want to fight the Mexicans. We want to serve the 
Mexicans if we can, because we know how we would 
like to be free, and how we would like to be served if 
there were friends standing by in such case ready to 
serve us. A war of aggression is not a war in which it 
is a proud thing to die, but a war of service is a thing 
in which it is a proud thing to die. 

Notice how truly these men were of our blood. I 
mean of our American blood, which is not drawn from 
any one country, which is not drawn from any one 
stock, which is not drawn from any one language of 
the modem world; but free men everywhere have sent 
their sons and their brothers and their daughters to 
this country in order to make that great compounded 
Nation which consists of all the sturdy elements and of 
all the best elements of the whole globe. I listened 
again to this list of the dead with a profound interest 
because of the mixture of the names, for the names 
bear the marks of the several national stocks from 
which these men came. But they are not Irishmen or 
Germans or Frenchmen or Hebrews or Italians any 
more. They were not when they went to Vera Cruz; 
they were Americans, every one of them, and with no 
difference in their Americanism because of the stock 
from which they came. They were in a peculiar sense 
of our blood, and they proved it by showing that they 
were of our spirit — ^that no matter what their deriva- 
tion, no matter where their people came from, they 
thought and wished and did the things that were Ameri- 


can; and the flag under which they served was a flag 
in which all the blood of mankind is united to make a 
free Nation, 

War, gentlemen, is only a sort of dramatic represen- 
tation, a sort of dramatic symbol, of a thousand forms 
of duty. I never went into battle; I never was under 
fire; but I fancy that there are some things just as 
hard to do as to go under fire. I fancy that it is just 
as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you 
as when they are shooting at you. When they shoot at 
you, they can only take your natural life; when they 
sneer at you, they can wound your living heart, and 
men who are brave enough, steadfast enough, steady 
in their principles enough, to go about their duty with 
regard to their fellow-men, no matter whether there 
are hisses or cheers, men who can do what Rudyard 
Kipling in one of his poems wrote, "Meet with tri- 
innph and disaster and treat those two impostors just 
the same,'' are men for a nation to be proud of. Mor- 
ally speaking, disaster and triumph are impostors. The 
cheers of the moment are not what a man ought to 
think about, but the verdict of his conscience and of the 
consciences of mankind. 

When I look at you, I feel as if I also and we aU 
were enlisted men. Not enlisted in your particular 
brancii of the service, but enlisted to serve the country, 
no matter what may come, even though we may sacri- 
fice our lives in the arduous endeavor. We are expected 
to put the utmost energy of every power that we have 
into the service of our fellow-men, never sparing our- 
selves, not condescending to think of what is going to 


happen to ourselves, but ready, if need be, to go to the 
utter length of complete self-sacrifice. 

As I stand and look at you to-day and think of these 
spirits that have gone from us, I know that the road ii^ 
clearer for the future. These boys have shown us the 
way, and it is easier to walk on it because they have 
gone before and shown us how. May God grant to all 
of us that vision of patriotic service which here in 
solemnity and grief and pride is borne in upon our 
hearts and consciences! 


fought for. No one can turn to the career of Com- 
modore Barry without feeling a touch of the enthusi- 
asm with which he devoted an originating mind to the 
great cause which he intended to serve, and it behooves 
us, living in this age when no man can question the 
power of the Nation, when no man would dare to doubt 
its right and its determination to act for itself, to ask 
what it was that filled the hearts of these men when 
they set the Nation up. 

For patriotism, ladies and gentlemen, is in my mind 
not merely a sentiment. There is a certain efferves- 
cence, I suppose, which ought to be permitted to those 
who allow their hearts to speak in the celebration of the 
glory and majesty of their coimtry, but the country 
can have no glory and no majesty unless there be a 
deep principle and conviction back of the enthusiasm. 
Patriotism is a principle, not a mere sentiment. No 
man can be a true patriot who does not feel himself 
shot through and through with a deep ardor for what 
his country stands for, what its existence means, what 
its purpose is declared to be in its history and in its 
policy. I recall those solemn lines of the poet Tenny- 
son in which he tries to give voice to his conception, 
of what it is that stirs within a nation: **Some sense of 
duty, something of a faith, some reverence for the laws 
ourselves have made, some patient force to change 
them when we will, some civic manhood firm against 
the crowd;'' steadfastness, clearness of purpose, cour- 
age, persistency, and that uprightness which comes 
from the dear thinking of men who wish to serve not 
themselves but their fellow-men. 


What does the United States stand for, then, that 
our hearts should be stirred by the memory of the men 
who set her Constitution up? John Barry fought, like 
every other man in the Eevolution, in order that Amer- 
ica might be free to make her own life without inter- 
ruption or disturbance from any other quarter. Tou 
can sum the whole thing up in that, that America had 
a right to her own self-determined life; and what are 
our corollaries from that ? Tou do not have to go back 
jto stir your thoughts again with the issues of the Revo- 
lution. Some of the issues of the Revolution were not 
the cause of it, but merely the occasion for it. There 
are just as vital things stirring now that concern the 
existence of the Nation as were stirring then, and every 
man who worthily stands in this presence should exam- 
ine himself and see whether he has the full conception 
of what it means that America should live her own life. 
Washington saw it when he wrote his farewell address. 
It was not merely because of passing and transient cir- 
cumstances that Washington said that we must keep 
free from entangling alliances. It was because he saw 
that no country had yet set its face in the same direc- 
tion in which America had set her face. We cannot 
form alliances with those who are not going our way; 
and in our might and majesty and in the confidence and 
definiteness of our own purpose we need not and we 
should not form alliances with any nation in the world. 
Those who are right, those who study their consciences 
in determining their policies, those who hold their honor 
higher than their advantage, do not need alliances. 
You need alliances when you are not strong, and you 


are weak only when you are not true to yourself. You 
are weak only when you are in the wrong ; you are weak 
only when you are afraid to do the right ; you are weak 
only when you doubt your cause and the majesty of a 
nation's might asserted. 

There is another corollary. John Barry was an 
Irishman, but his heart crossed the Atlantic with him. 
He did not leave it in Ireland. And the test of all 
of us — for all of us had our origins on the other side 
of the sea — ^is whether we will assist in enabling Amer- 
ica to live her separate and independent life, retaining 
our ancient affections, indeed, but determining every- 
thing that we do by the interests that exist on this side 
of the sea. Some Americans need hyphens in their 
names, because only part of them has come over; but 
when the whole man has come over, heart and thought 
and all, the hjrphen drops of its own weight out of his 
name. This man was not an Irish-American; he was 
an Irishman who became an American. I venture to 
say if he voted he voted with regard to the questions 
as they looked on this side of the water and not as 
they affected the other side; and that is my infallible 
test of a genuine American, that when he votes or when 
he acts or when he fights his heart and his thought are 
centered nowhere but in the emotions and the purposes 
and the policies of the United States. 

This man illustrates for me all the splendid strength 
which we brought into this country by the magnet of 
freedom. Men have been drawn to this coimtry by 
the same thing that has made us love this country — ^by 
the opportunity to live their own lives and to think 


their own thoughts and to let their whole natures ex- 
pand with the expansion of a free and mighty Nation. 
We have brought out of the stocks of aU the world all 
the best impulses and have appropriated them and 
Americanized them and translated them into the glory 
and majesty of a great country. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, when we go out from this 
presence we ought to take this idea with us that we, 
too, are devoted to the purpose of enabling America to 
live her own life, to be the justest, the most progressive, 
the most honorable, the most enlightened Nation in the 
world. Any man that touches our honor is our enemy. 
Any man who stands in the way of the kind of prog- 
ress which makes for human freedom cannot call him- 
self our friend. Any man who does not feel behind 
him the whole push and rush and compulsion that filled 
men's hearts in the time of the Ee volution is no Ameri- 
can. No man who thinks first of himself and after- 
wards of his country can call himself an American. 
America must be enriched by us. We must not live 
upon her; she must live by means of us. 

I, for one, come to this shrine to renew the impulses 
of American democracy. I would be ashamed of myself 
if I went away from this place without realizing again 
that every bit of selfishness must be purged from our 
policy, that every bit of self-seeking must be purged 
from our individual consciences, and that we must be 
great, if we would be great at all, in the light and 
illmnination of the example of men who gave every- 
thing that they were and everything that they had to 
.the glory and honor of America. 



ACADEMY, JUNE 5, 1914 

The United States Naval Academy at Annapolifl renders to the Navy the 
services which the Military Academy established at West Point renders the 
Army of the United States. The midshipmen, as the students of this institution 
are called, are appointed, seventeen by the President, twenty-five by the Secre- 
tary of the Navy and three by each Senator and Member of Congress. Upon 
mental and physical examination they are admitted and pursue a course of 
four years of technical study at the expense of the United States. The total 
number allowed by the law is 3,128; the actual number of midshipmen in 
regular course in the fall of 1917 is 1,442. 

It is interesting to recall that the Naval Academy was established on 
October 10, 1845, without act of Congress, by the distinguished American his* 
torian, George Bancroft, then Secretary of the Navy in President Polk's adminia- 
tration, by the simple device of removing the instructors from the men-of-war, 
who accompanied and instructed the midshipmen, and locating instructors and 
midshipmen at Annapolis in Fort Severn, assigned to the enterprising Secretary 
of the Navy by the Uien Secretary of War. 

Mr. Superintendent, Young Gentlemen, Ladies and 
Gentlemen : 

During the greater part of my life I have been 
associated with young men, and on occasions it seems 
to me without number have faced bodies of youngsters 
going out to take part in the activities of the world, 
but I have a consciousness of a different significance 
in this occasion from that which I have felt on other 
similar occasions. When I have faced the graduating 
classes at universities I have felt that I was facing a 
great conjecture. They were going out into aU sorts 
of pursuits and with every degree of preparation for 
the particular thing they were expecting to do; some 



without any preparation at all, for they did not know 
what they expected to do. But in facing you I am 
facing men who are trained for a special thing. You 
know what you are going to do, and you are under the 
eye of the whole Nation in doing it. For you, gentle- 
men, are to be part of the power of the Government of 
the United States. There is a very deep and solemn 
significance in that fact, and I am sure that every one 
of you feels it. The moral is perfectly obvious. Be 
ready and fit for anything that you have to do. And 
keep ready and fit. Do not grow slack. Do not sup- 
pose that your education is over because you have re- 
ceived your diplomas from the academy. Your educa- 
tion has just begun. Moreover, you are to have a very 
peculiar privilege which not many of your predecessors 
have had. You are yourselves going to become teachers. 
Tou are going to teach those 50,000 fellow countrymen 
^f yours who are the enlisted men of the Navy. You 
^re going to make them fitter to obey your orders and 
*o serve the country. You are going to make them 
^tter to see what the orders mean in their outlook upon 
iife and upon the service ; and that is a great privilege, 
^ftx* out of you are going the energy and intelligence 
*^^^^ch are going to quicken the whole body of the 
^^^^Mated States Navy. 

J congratulate you upon that prospect, but I want to 
^fi*^ you not to get the professional point of view. I 
^^^'^old ask it of you if you were lawyers; I would ask 
it ^>i you if you were merchants ; I would ask it of you 
^T*-^^tever you expected to be. Do not get the profes- 
sorial point of view. There is nothing narrower or 


more unserviceable than the professional point of view, 
to have the attitude toward life that it centers in your 
profession. It does not. Tour profession is only one 
of the many activities which are meant to keep the 
world straight, and to keep the energy in its blood and 
in its muscle. We are all of us in this world, as I under- 
stand it, to set forward the affairs of the whole world, 
though we play a special part in that great function. 
The Navy goes all over the world, and I think it is to 
be congratulated upon having that sort of illustration 
of what the world is and what it contains; and inas- 
much as you are going all over the world you ought to 
be the better able to see the relation that your country 
bears to the rest of the world. 

It ought to be one of your thoughts all the time that 
you are sample Americans — ^not merely sample Navy 
men, not merely sample soldiers, but sample Ameri- 
cans — ^and that you have the point of view of America 
with regard to her Navy and her Army; that she is 
using them as the instnunents of civilization, not as 
the instnunents of aggression. The idea of America 
is to serve humanity, and every time you let the Stars 
and Stripes free to the wind you ought to realize that 
that is in itself a message that you are on an errand 
which other navies have sometimes forgotten; not an 
errand of conquest, but an errand of service. I always 
have the same thought when I look at the flag of the 
United States, for I know something of the history of 
the struggle of mankind for liberty. When I look at 
that flag it seems to me as if the white stripes were 
strips of parchment upon which are written the rights 


of man, and the red stripes the streams of blood by 
which those rights have been made good. Then in the 
little blue firmament in the corner have swung out the 
stars of the States of the American Union. So it is, 
as it were, a sort of floating charter that has come down 
to us from Runnymede, when men said, **We will not 
have masters; we will be a people, and we will seek 
our own liberty.*' 

You are not serving a goyemment, gentlemen; you 

are serving a people. For we who for the time being 

constitute the Government are merely instruments for 

a little while in the hands of a great Nation which 

chooses whom it will to carry out its decrees and who 

invariably rejects the man who forgets the ideals which 

it intended him to serve. So that I hope that wherever 

you go you will have a generous, comprehending love 

of the people you come into contact with, and will come 

back and tell us, if you can, what service the United 

States can render to the remotest parts of the world; 

tell us where you see men suffering; tell us where you 

think advice will lift them up; tell us where you think 

that the counsel of statesmen may better the fortunes 

of unfortunate men ; always having it in mind that you 

ax-€ champions of what is right and fair all 'round for 

tlxc public welfare, no matter where you are, and 

tti.s.t it is that you are ready to fight for and not 

merely on the drop of a hat or upon some slight 

PULmctilio, but that you are champions of your fel- 

Jo^^v-men, particularly of that great body one hun- 

dir^d million strong whom you represent in the United 




What do you think is the most lasting impression 
that those boys down at Vera Cruz are going to leave! 
They have had to use some force — ^I pray God it may 
not be necessary for them to use any more — ^but do 
you think that the way they fought is going to be the 
most lasting impression? Have men not fought ever 
since the world began? Is there anything new in using 
force? The new things in the world are the things 
that are divorced from force. The things that show the 
moral compulsions of the human conscience, those are 
the things by which we have been building up civiliza- 
tion, not by force. And the lasting impression that 
those boys are going to leave is this, that they exercise 
self-control; that they are ready and diligent to make 
the place where they went fitter to live in than they 
found it; that they regarded other people's rights; that 
they did not strut and bluster, but went quietly, like 
self-respecting gentlemen, about their legitimate work. 
And the people of Vera Cruz, who feared the Ameri- 
cans and despised the Americans, are going to get a 
very different taste in their mouths about the whole 
thing when the boys of the Navy and the Army come 
away. Is that not something to be proud of, that you 
know how to use force like men of conscience and like 
gentlemen, serving your fellow-men and not trying to 
overcome them? Like that gallant gentleman who has 
so long borne the heats and perplexities and distresses 
of the situation in Vera Cruz — Admiral Fletcher. I 
mention him, because his service there has been longer 
and so much of the early perplexities fell upon him. 
I have been in almost daily commimication with Ad- 


miral Fletcher, and I have tested his temper. I have 
tested his discretion. I know that he is a man with a 
touch of statesmanship about him, and he has grown 
bigger in my eye each day as I have read his dispatches, 
for he has sought always to serve the thing he was 
trying to do in the temper that we all recognize and 
love to believe is typically American. 

I challenge you youngsters to go out with these con- 
ceptions, knowing that you are part of the Government 
and force of the United States and that men will judge 
us by you. I am not afraid of the verdict. I cannot 
look in your faces and doubt what it will be, but I want 
you to take these great engines of force out onto the 
seas like adventurers enlisted for the elevation of the 
spirit of the human race. For that is the only distinc- 
tdoii that America has. Other nations have been strong, 
other nations have piled wealth as high as the sky, 
but they have come into disgrace because they used 
tlieir force and their wealth for the oppression of man- 
.kind and their own aggrandizement; and America will 
xDiot bring glory to herself, but disgrace, by following 
tLbe beaten paths of history. We must strike out upon 
paths, and we must count upon you gentlemen to 
the explorers who will carry this spirit and spread 
tfaJs message all over the seas and in every port of the 
d^vilized world. 

You see, therefore, why I said that when I faced you 
I :f elt there was a special significance. I am not present 
OEi. an occasion when you are about to scatter on various 
^Jcrrands. You are all going on the same errand, and 
I Xike to feel bound with you in one common organiza- 


tion for the glory of America. And her glory goes 
deeper than all the tinsel, goes deeper than the sound 
of guns and the clash of sabers; it goes down to the 
very foundations of those things that have made the 
spirit of men free and happy and content. 


Mb. Chairman and Fellow Citizens : 

We are assembled to celebrate the one hundred and 
thirty-eighth anniversary of the birth of the United 
States. I suppose that we can more vividly realize the 
circimistances of that birth standing on this historic spot 
than it would be possible to realize them anywhere else. 
The Declaration of Independence was written in Phila- 
delphia; it was adopted in this historic building by 
which we stand. I have just had the privilege of sit- 
ting in the chair of the great man who presided over 
the deliberations of those who gave the declaration to 
the world. My hand rests at this moment upon the 
table upon which the declaration was signed. We can 
feel that we are almost in the visible and tangible pres- 
ence of a great historic transaction. 

Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence 
or attended with close comprehension to the real char- 
acter of it when you have heard it read? If you have, 
y^ou will know that it is not a Fourth of July oration. 
ITie Declaration of Independence was a document pre- 
liiminary to war. It was a vital piece of practical busi- 
a^38s, not a piece of rhetoric ; and if you will pass beyond 
ti=M.ose preliminary passages which we are accustomed to 
q'^.sLote about the rights of men and read into the heart of 
tkni.^ document you will see that it is very express and 
d^^iailed, that it consists of a series of definite specifica- 



tions concenung actual public business of the day. Not 
the business of our day, for the matter with which it 
deals is past, but the business of that first reyolution by 
which the Nation was set up, the business of 1776. Its 
general statements, its general declarations cannot mean 
anything to us unless we append to it a similar specific 
body of particulars as to what we consider the essential 
business of our own day. 

Liberty does not consist, my fellow citizens, in mere 
general declarations of the rights of man. It consists 
in the translation of those declarations into definite 
action. Therefore, standing here where the declaration 
was adopted, reading its business-like sentences, we 
ought to ask ourselves what there is in it for us. There 
is nothing in it for us unless we can translate it into the 
terms of our own conditions and of our own lives. 
We must reduce it to what the lawyers call a bill of 
particulars. It contains a bill of particulars, but the 
bill of particulars of 1776. K we would keep it alive, 
we must fill it with a bill of particulars of the year 

The task to which we have constantly to readdress 
ourselves is the task of proving that we are worthy of 
the men who drew this great declaration and know what 
they would have done in our circumstances. Patriotism 
consists in some very practical things — ^practical in that 
they belong to the life of every day, that they wear no 
extraordinary distinction about them, that they are con- 
nected with commonplace duty. The way to be patriotic 
in America is not only to love America, but to love the 
duty that lies nearest to our hand and know that in 


performing it we are serving our country. There are 
some gentlemen in Washington, for example, at this very 
moment who are showing themselves very patriotic in a 
way which does not attract wide attention but seems to 
belong to mere everyday obligations. The Members of 
the House and Senate who stay in hot Washington to 
maintain a quonun of the Houses and transact the all- 
important business of the Nation are doing an act of 
patriotism. I honor them for it, and I am glad to stay 
there and stick by them until the work is done. 

It is patriotic, also, to learn what the facts of our 
national life are and to face them with candor. I have 
heard a great many facts stated about the present busi- 
ness condition of this country, for example — a great 
many allegations of fact, at any rate, but the allegations 
do not tally with one another. And yet I know that 
truth always matches with truth ; and when I find some 
insisting that everything is going wrong and others 
insisting that everything is going right, and when I 
kxLOw from a wide observation of the general circum- 
stances of the country taken as a whole that things are 
g^oing extremely well, I wonder what those who are cry- 
ixxg out that things are wrong are trying to do. Are 
tiicy trying to serve the country, or are they trying to 
8^:we something smaller than the coimtry? Are they 
tir37mg to put hope into the hearts of the men who work 
sjcjL^ toil every day, or are they trying to plant discour- 
agement and despair in those hearts ? And why do they 
ci^J^ that everything is wrong and yet do nothing to set 
it xight? K they love America and anything is wrong 
aJXxongst us, it is their business to put their hand with 


ours to the task of setting it right- When the facts are 
known and acknowledged, the duty of all patriotic men 
is to accept them in candor and to address themselves 
hopefully and confidently to the common counsel which 
is necessary to act upon them wisely and in uniyersal 

I have had some experiences in the last 14 months 
which have not been entirely reassuring. It was uni- 
versally admitted, for example, my fellow citizens, that 
the banking system of this country needed reorganiza- 
tion. We set the best minds that we could find to the 
task of discovering the best method of reorganization. 
But we met with hardly anything but criticism from the 
bankers of the country; we met with hardly anything 
but resistance from the majority of those at least who 
spoke at all concerning the matter. And yet so soon as 
that act was passed there was a universal chorus of 
applause, and the very men who had opposed the meas- 
ure joined in that applause. If it was wrong the day 
before it was passed, why was it right the day after it 
was passed? Where had been the candor of criticism 
not only, but the concert of counsel which makes legis- 
lative action vigorous and safe and successful? 

It is not patriotic to concert measures against one 
another; it is patriotic to concert measures for one 

In one sense the Declaration of Independence has 
lost its significance. It has lost its significance as a 
declaration of national independence. Nobody outside 
of America believed when it was uttered that we could 
make good our independence; now nobody anywhere 


would dare to doubt that we are independent and can 
maintain our independence. As a declaration of inde- 
pendence, therefore, it is a mere historic document. Our 
independence is a fact so stupendous that it can be 
measured only by the size and energy and variety and 
wealth and power of one of the greatest nations in the 
world. But it is one thing to be independent and it is 
another thing to know what to do with your independ- 
ence. It is one thing to come to your majority and 
another thing to know what you are going to do with 
your life and your energies ; and one of the most serious 
questions for sober-minded men to address themselves 
to in the United States is this: What are we going to 
do with the influence and power of this great Nation? 
Are we going to play the old role of using that power 
for our aggrandizement and material benefit only ? You 
know what that may mean. It may upon occasion mean 
that we shall use it to make the peoples of other nations 
suffer in the way in which we said it was intolerable to 
Aiffer when we uttered our Declaration of Independence. 
The Department of State at Washington is constantly 
caJled upon to back up the commercial enterprises and 
tb^^ industrial enterprises of the United States in foreign 
co-imtries, and it at one time went so far in that direc- 
^<:^n that all its diplomacy came to be designated as 
oUar diplomacy.'' It was called upon to support 
ry man who wanted to earn anything anywhere if he 
an American. But there ought to be a limit to that, 
ere is no man who is more interested than I am in 
^^^nying the enterprise of American business men to 
ry quarter of the globe. I was interested in it long 


before I was suspected of being a politician. I hav^ 
been preaching it year after year as the great thing that 
lay in the future for the United States, to show her wit 
and skill and enterprise and influence in every country 
in the world. But observe the limit to all that which is 
laid upon us perhaps more than upon any other nation 
in the world. We set this Nation up, at any rate we 
professed to set it up, to vindicate the rights of men. 
We did not name any differences between one race and 
another. We did not set up any barriers against any 
particular people. We opened our gates to aU the world 
and said, **Let all men who wish to be free come to us 
and they will be welcome.'* We said, **This independ- 
ence of ours is not a selfish thing for our own exclusive 
private use. It is for everybody to whom we can find 
the means of extending it.*' We cannot with that oath, 
taken in our youth, we cannot with that great ideal set 
before us when we were a young people and numbered 
only a scant 3,000,000, take upon ourselves, now that we 
are 100,000,000 strong, any other conception of duty 
than we then entertained. K American enterprise in 
foreign coimtries, particularly in those foreign countries 
which are not strong enough to resist us, takes the shape 
of imposing upon and exploiting the mass of the people 
of that country it ought to be checked and not encour- 
aged. I am willing to get anything for an American 
that money and enterprise can obtain except the sup- 
pression of the rights of other men. I will not help any 
man buy a power which he ought not to exercise over 
his fellow beings. 

You know, my fellow coimtrymen, what a big ques- 


tion there is in Mexico. Eighty-five per cent of the 

Mexican people have never been allowed to have any 

genuine participation in their own Government or to 

exercise any substantial rights with regard to the very 

land they live upon. All the rights that men most 

desire have been exercised by the other 15 per cent. 

Do you suppose that that circumstance is not sometimes 

in my thought ? I know that the American people have 

a heart that will beat just as strong for those millions 

in Mexico as it will beat, or has beaten, for any other 

millions elsewhere in the world, and that when once 

they conceive what is at stake in Mexico they will know 

what ought to be done in Mexico. I hear a great deal 

said about the loss of property in Mexico and the loss 

of the lives of foreigners, and I deplore these things 

with all my heart. Undoubtedly, upon the conclusion 

of the present disturbed conditions in Mexico those who 

liave been unjustly deprived of their property or in 

any wise unjustly put upon ought to be compensated. 

J^en's individual rights have no doubt been invaded, 

and the invasion of those rights has been attended by 

2Kxany deplorable circumstances which ought some time, 

ira the proper way, to be accounted for. But back of 

it all is the struggle of a people to come into its own, 

while we look upon the incidents in the foreground 

us not forget the great tragic reality in the back- 

ound which towers above the whole picture. 

A patriotic American is a man who is not niggardly 
selfish in the things that he enjoys that make for 
w:^:Mian liberty and the rights of man. He wants to share 
tlx^an vnith the whole world, and he is never so proud of 


the great flag under which he lives as when it comes to 
mean to other people as well as to himself a symbol of 
hope and liberty. I would be ashamed of this flag if it 
ever did anything outside America that we would not 
permit it to do inside of America. 

The world is becoming more complicated every day, 
my fellow citizens. No man ought to be foolish enough 
to think that he understands it aU. And, therefore, I 
am glad that there are some simple things in the world. 
One of the simple things is principle. Honesty is a per- 
fectly simple thing. It is hard for me to believe that 
in most circumstances when a man has a choice of ways 
he does not know which is the right way and which is 
the wrong way. No man who has chosen the wrong 
way ought even to come into Independence Square ; it is 
holy ground which he ought not to tread upon. He 
ought not to come where immortal voices have uttered 
the great sentences of such a document as this Declara- 
tion of Independence upon which rests the liberty of a 
whole nation. 

And so I say that it is patriotic sometimes to prefer 
the honor of the country to its material interest. Would 
you rather be deemed by all the nations of the world 
incapable of keeping your treaty obligations in order 
that you might have free tolls for American ships ? The 
treaty under which we gave up that right may have been 
a mistaken treaty, but there was no mistake about its 

When I have made a promise as a man I try to keep 
it, and I know of no other rule permissible to a nation. 
The most distinguished nation in the world is the nation 


that can and will keep its promises even to its own hurt. 
And I want to say parenthetically that I do not think 
anybody was hurt. I cannot be enthusiastic for subsi- 
dies to a monopoly, but let those who are enthusiastic 
for subsidies ask themselves whether they prefer subsi- 
dies to unsullied honor. 

The most patriotic man, ladies and gentlemen, is 
sometimes the man who goes in the direction that he 
thinks right even when he sees half the world against 
him. It is the dictate of patriotism to sacrifice your- 
self if you think that that is the path of honor and of 
duty. Do not blame others if they do not agree with 
you. Do not die with bitterness in your heart because 
you did not convince the rest of the world, but die happy 
because you believe that you tried to serve your country 
by not selling your soul. Those were grim days, the days 
of 1776. Those gentlemen did not attach their names 
to the Declaration of Independence on this table expect- 
ing a holiday on the next day, and that 4th of July was 
not itself a holiday. They attached their signatures to 
that significant document knowing that if they failed it 
was certain that every one of them would hang for the 
failure. They were committing treason in the interest 
of the liberty of 3,000,000 people in America. All the 
rest of the world was against them and smiled with 
cynical incredulity at the audacious undertaking. Do 
you think that if they could see this great Nation now 
they would regret anything that they then did to draw 
the gaze of a hostile world upon them ? Every idea must 
be started by somebody, and it is a lonely thing to start 
anything. Yet if it is in you, you must start it if you 


have a man's blood in you and if you love the country 
that you profess to be working for. 

I am sometimes very much interested when I see 
gentlemen supposing that popularity is the way to suc- 
cess in America. The way to success in this great coun- 
try, with its fair judgments, is to show that you are not 
afraid of anybody except God and His final verdict. If 
I did not believe that, I would not believe in democracy. 
If I did not believe that, I would not believe that people 
can govern themselves. If I did not believe that the 
moral judgment would be the last judgment, the final 
judgment, in the minds of men as well as the tribunal 
of God, I could not believe in popular government. But 
I do believe these things, and, therefore, I earnestly 
believe in the democracy not only of America but of 
every awakened people that wishes and intends to gov- 
ern and control its own affairs. 

It is very inspiring, my friends, to come to this that 
may be called the original fountain of independence and 
liberty in America and here drink draughts of patriotic 
feeling which seem to renew the very blood in one's 
veins. Down in Washington sometimes when the days 
are hot and the business presses intolerably and there 
are so many things to do that it does not seem possible 
to do anything in the way it ought to be done, it is 
always possible to lift one's thought above the task of the 
moment and, as it were, to realize that great thing of 
which we are all parts, the great body of American feel- 
ing and American principle. No man could do the work 
that has to be done in Washington if he allowed him- 
self to be separated from that body of principle. He 


must make himself feel that he is a part of the people 
of the United States, that he is trying to think not only 
for them, but with them, and then he cannot feel lonely. 
He not only cannot feel lonely but he cannot feel afraid 
of anything. 

My dream is that as the years go on and the world 
knows more and more of America it will also drink at 
these fountains of youth and renewal; that it also will 
turn to America for those moral inspirations which lie 
at the basis of all freedom; that the world will never 
fear America imless it feels that it is engaged in some 
enterprise which is inconsistent with the rights of 
humanity; and that America will come into the fuU 
light of the day when all shall know that she puts 
human rights above all other rights and that her flag 
is the flag not only of America but of humanity. 

What other great people has devoted itself to this 
exalted ideal? To what other nation in the world can 
all eyes look for an instant sympathy that thrills the 
whole body politic when men anywhere are fighting for 
their rights? I do not know that there will ever be a 
declaration of independence and of grievances for man- 
kind, but I believe that if any such document is ever 
drawn it will be drawn in the spirit of the American 
Declaration of Independence, and that America has 
lifted high the light which will shine unto all genera- 
tions and guide the feet of mankind to the goal of jus- 
tice and liberty and peace. 


AUGUST 18, 1914 

In the manual entitled Kriegahrauoh im Landkriege,^ issued in 1002 by the 
Great Greneral Staff of the German Army, the nature of neutrality is thus 
stated: '' It is here assumed that neutrality is not to be regarded as synonymous 
with indifference and impartiality toward the belligerents and the continuance 
of the war. As regards the expression of partisanship all that is required of 
neutral States is the observance of international courtesy; so long as these are 
observed, there is no occasion for interference." President Wilson's conception 
of neutrality, as laid down in the following appeal, was something more than 
impartiality based upon an observance of international courtesies. It was neu- 
trality in thought, in word, in deed, which he besought his countrymen to observe. 

My Fellow Coxtntrymen : 

I suppose that every thoughtful man in America has 
asked himself, during these last troubled weeks, what 
influence the European war may exert upon the United 
States, and I take the liberty of addressing a few words 
to you in order to point out that it is entirely within 
our own choice what its effects upon us will be and to 
urge very earnestly upon you the sort of speech and con- 
duct which will best safeguard the Nation against dis- 
tress and disaster. 

The effect of the war upon the United States will 
depend upon what American citizens say and do. Every 
man who really loves America will act and speak in the 

* Translated by J. H. Morgan under the title The W(ur Book of the Germois 
General Staff (New York, 1016). 


I venture, therefore, my fellow countrymen, to speak 
a solemn word of warning to you against that deepest, 
most subtle, most essential breach of neutrality which 
may spring out of partisanship, out of passionately tak- 
ing sides. The United States must be neutral in fact as 
well as in name during these days that are to try men's 
souls. We must be impartial in thought as well as in 
action, must put a curb upon our sentiments as well as 
upon every transaction that might be construed as a 
preference of one party to the struggle before another. 

My thought is of America. I am speaking, I feel 
sure, the earnest wish and purpose of every thoughtful 
American that this great country of ours, which is, of 
course, the first in our thoughts and in our hearts, should 
show herself in this time of peculiar trial a Nation fit 
beyond others to exhibit the fine poise of undisturbed 
judgment, the dignity of self-control, the efl&ciency of 
dispassionate action; a Nation that neither sits in judg- 
ment upon others nor is disturbed in her own counsels 
and which keeps herself fit and free to do what is honest 
and disinterested and truly serviceable for the peace of 
the world. 

Shall we not resolve to put upon ourselves the re- 
straints which will bring to our people the happiness 
and the great and lasting influence for peace we covet 
for them? 






Mb. President, Gentlemen of the American Bar 

I am very deeply gratified by the greeting that your 
president has given me and by your response to it. My 
only strength Hes in your confidence. 

We stand now in a peculiar case. Our first thought, 
I suppose, as lawyers, is of international law, of those 
bonds of right and principle which draw the nations 
together and hold the community of the world to some 
standards of action. We know that we see in inter- 
national law, as it were, the moral processes by which 
law itself came into existence. I know that as a lawyer 
I have myself at times felt that there was no real com- 
parison between the law of a nation and the law of 
nations, because the latter lacked the sanction that gave 
the former strength and validity. And yet, if you look 
into the matter more closely, you will find that the two 
have the same foundations, and that those foundations 
are more evident and conspicuous in our day than they 
have ever been before. 

* Only that part of the address is given which concerns public opinion and 
international relations. 


The opinion of the world is the mistress of the 
world; and the processes of international law are the 
slow processes by which opinion works its will. What 
impresses me is the constant thought that that is the 
tribunal at the bar of which we all sit. I would call 
your attention, incidentally, to the circumstance that it 
does not observe the ordinary rules of evidence; which 
has sometimes suggested to me that the ordinary rules 
of evidence had shown some signs of growing antique. 
Everything, rumor included, is heard in this court, and 
the standard of judgment is not so much the character 
of the testimony as the character of the witness. The 
motives are disclosed, the purposes are conjectured, and 
that opinion is finally accepted which seems to be, not 
the best founded in law, perhaps, but the best founded 
in integrity of character and of morals. That is the 
process which is slowly working its will upon the world ; 
and what we should be watchful of is not so much 
jealous interests as sound principles of action. The dis- 
interested course is always the biggest course to pursue 
not only, but it is in the long run the most profitable 
course to pursue. If you can establish your character, 
you can establish your credit. ... 


Gentlemen of the Oongbess : 

The session upon which yon are now entering will be 
the closing session of the Sixty-third Congress, a Con- 
gress, I venture to say, which will long be remembered 
for the great body of thoughtful and constructive work 
which it has done, in loyal response to the thought and 
needs of the country. I should like in this address to 
review the notable record and try to make adequate 
assessment of it; but no doubt we stand too near 
the work that has been done and are ourselves 
too much part of it to play the part of historians 
toward it. 

Our program of legislation with regard to the regu- 
lation of business is now virtually complete. It has 
been put forth, as we intended, as a whole, and leaves 
no conjecture as to what is to follow. The road at last 
lies dear and firm before business. It is a road which 
it can travel without fear or embarrassment. It is the 
road to ungrudged, unclouded success. In it every 
honest man, every man who believes that the public 
interest is part of his own interest, may walk with 
perfect confidence. 

Moreover, our thoughts are now more of the future 
than of the past. While we have worked at our tasks 

'Only that part of the address is given which concerns international 



of peace the circumstances of the whole age have been 
altered by war. What we have done for our own land 
and our own people we did with the best that was in 
us, whether of character or of intelligence, with sober 
enthusiasm and a confidence in the principles upon 
which we were acting which sustained us at every step 
of the difficult undertaking; but it is done. It has 
passed from our hands. It is now an established part 
of the legislation of the country. Its usefulness, its 
effects will disclose themselves in experience. What 
chiefly strikes us now, as we look about us during these 
closing days of a year which will be forever memorable 
in the history of the world, is that we face new tasks, 
have been facing them these six months, must face them 
in the months to come, — ^face them without partisan 
feeling, like men who have forgotten everything but 
a common duty and the fact that we are representatives 
of a great people whose thought is not of us but of 
what America owes to herself and to all mankind in 
such circiunstances as these upon which we look amazed 
and anxious. 

War has interrupted the means of trade not only but 
also the processes of production. In Europe it is de- 
stroying men and resources wholesale and upon a scale 
unprecedented and appalling. There is reason to fear 
that the time is near, if it be not already at hand, when 
several of the countries of Europe will find it difficult 
to do for their people what they have hitherto been 
always easily able to do, — ^many essential and funda- 
mental things. At any rate, they will need our help 
and our manifold services as they have never needed 


them before; and we should be ready, more fit and 
ready than we have ever been. 

It is of equal consequence that the nations whom 
Europe has usually supplied with innumerable articles 
of manufacture and commerce of which they are in 
constant need and without which their economic de- 
velopment halts and stands still can now get only a 
small part of what they formerly imported and eagerly 
look to us to supply their all but empty markets. This 
is particularly true of our own neighbors, the States, 
great and small, of Central and South America. Their 
lines of trade have hitherto run chiefly athwart the seas, 
not to our ports but to the ports of Great Britain and 
of the older continent of Europe. I do not stop to in- 
quire why, or to make any conunent on probable causes. 
,What interests us just now is not the explanation but 
the fact, and our duty and opportunity in the presence 
of it. Here are markets which we must supply, and we 
must find the means of action. The United States, this 
great people for whom we speak and act, should be 
ready, as never before, to serve itself and to serve man- 
kind; ready with its resources, its energies, its forces 
of production, and its means of distribution. 

It is a very practical matter, a matter of ways and 
means. We have the resources, but are we fully ready 
to use them ? And, if we can make ready what we have, 
have we the means at hand to distribute it? We are 
not fully ready; neither have we the means of distribu- 
tion. We are willing, but we are not fully able. We 
have the wish to serve and to serve greatly, generously ; 
but we are not prepared as we should be. We are not 


ready to mobilize our resources at once. We are not 
prepared to use them immediately and at their best, 
without delay and without waste. 

To speak plainly, we have grossly erred in the way 
in which we have stunted and hindered the develop- 
ment of our merchant marine. And now, when we 
need ships, we have not got them. We have year after 
year debated, without end or conclusion, the best policy 
to pursue with regard to the use of the ores and forests 
and water powers of our national domain in the rich 
States of the West, when we should have acted; and 
they are still locked up. The key is still turned upon 
them, the door shut fast at which thousands of vigorous 
men, full of initiative, knock clamorously for admit- 
tance. The water power of our navigable streams out- 
side the national domain also, even in the eastern States, 
where we have worked and planned for generations, is 
still not used as it might be, because we will and we 
won^t; because the laws we have made do not intelli- 
gently balance encouragement against restraint. We 
withhold by regulation. 

I have come to ask you to remedy and correct these 
mistakes and omissions, even at this short session of 
a Congress which would certainly seem to have done 
all the work that could reasonably be expected of it. 
The time and the circimistances are extraordinary, and 
so must our efforts be also. 

Fortimately, two great measures, finely conceived, 
the one to imlock, with proper safeguards, the resources 
of the national domain, the other to encourage the use 
of the navigable waters outside that domain for the 


generation of power, have already passed the House 
of Eepresentatives and are ready for immediate con- 
sideration and action by the Senate. With the deepest 
earnestness I urge their prompt passage. In them 
both we turn our backs upon hesitation and makeshift 
and formulate a genuine policy of use and conserva- 
tion, in the best sense of those words. We owe the 
one measure not only to the people of that great western 
country for whose free and systematic development, as 
it seems to me, our legislation has done so little, but 
also to the people of the Nation as a whole ; and we as 
dearly owe the other in fulfillment of our repeated 
promises that the water power of the country should 
in fact as well as in name be put at the disposal of 
great industries which can make economical and profit- 
aWe use of it, the rights of the public being adequately 
guarded the while, and monopoly in the use prevented. 
To have begun such measures and not completed them 
would indeed mar the record of this great Congress 
VGiy seriously. I hope and confidently believe that 
t^ey will be completed. 

-Ajid there is another great piece of legislation which 
awaits and should receive the sanction of the Senate: 
I mean the bill which gives a larger measure of self- 
government to the people of the Philippines. How 
^tter, in this time of anxious questioning and per- 
plexed policy, could we show our confidence in the 
p^ciples of liberty, as the source as well as the ex- 
pression of life, how better could we demonstrate our 
o^ni self-possession and steadfastness in the courses 
oi justice and disinterestedness than by thus going 


calmly forward to fulfill our promises to a dependent 
people, who will now look more anxiously than ever 
to see whether we have indeed the liberality, the un- 
selfishness, the courage, the faith we have boasted and 
professed? I cannot believe that the Senate will let 
this great measure of constructive justice await the 
action of another Congress. Its passage would nobly 
crown the record of these two years of memorable 

But I think that you will agree with me that this 
does not complete the toll of our duty. How are we 
to carry our goods to the empty markets of which I 
have spoken if we have not the ships? How are we 
to build up a great trade if we have not the certain 
and constant means of transportation upon which all 
profitable and useful commerce depends? And how 
are we to get the ships if we wait for the trade to 
develop without them? To correct the many mistakes 
by which we have discouraged and all but destroyed 
the merchant marine of the country, to retrace the 
steps by which we have, it seems almost deliberately, 
withdrawn our flag from the seas, except where, here 
and there, a ship of war is bidden carry it or some 
wandering yacht displays it, would take a long time 
and involve many detailed items of legislation, and the 
trade which we ought immediately to handle would 
disappear or find other channels while we debated the 

The case is not unlike that which confronted us 
when our own continent was to be opened up to settle- 
ment and industry, and we needed long lines of 


way, extended means of transportation prepared before- 
hand, if development was not to lag intolerably and 
wait interminably. We lavishly subsidized the build- 
ing of transcontinental railroads. We look back upon 
that with regret now, because the subsidies led to many 
scandals of which we are ashamed; but we know that 
the railroads had to be built, and if we had it to do 
over again we should of course build them, but in an- 
other way. Therefore I propose another way of pro- 
viding the means of transportation, which must precede, 
flot tardily follow, the development of our trade with 
our neighbor states of America. It may seem a reversal 
of the natural order of things, but it is true, that the 
routes of trade must be actually opened — ^by many 
fihips and regular sailings and moderate charges — ^be- 
'oire streams of merchandise will flow freely and profit- 
ably through them. 

Hence the pending shipping bill, discussed at the 

last session but as yet passed by neither House. In 

^^y judgment such legislation is imperatively needed 

axi<i can not wisely be postponed. The Government 

^TXfit open these gates of trade, and open them wide; 

^I>en them before it is altogether profitable to open 

^h^em, or altogether reasonable to ask private capital 

*^ open them at a venture. It is not a question of 

^^ Government monopolizing the field. It should take 

^^"tion to make it certain that transportation at reason- 

^*^l^ rates will be promptly provided, even where the 

^^^*^age is not at first profitable; and then, when the 

^^^^*^age has become sufficiently profitable to attract 

^^<3 engage private capital, and engage it in abundance. 


the Government ought to withdraw. I very earnestly 
hope that the Congress will be of this opinion, and that 
both Houses will adopt this exceedingly important 
bill. . . . 

The other topic I shall take leave to mention goes 
deeper into the principles of our national life and 
policy. It is the subject of national defense. 

It cannot be discussed without first answering some 
very searching questions. It is said in some quarters 
that we are not prepared for war. What is meant 
by being prepared? Is it meant that we are not 
ready upon brief notice to put a nation in the field, 
a nation of men trained to arms? Of course we are 
not ready to do that; and we shall never be in time 
of peace so long as we retain our present political 
principles and institutions. And what is it that it is 
suggested we should be prepared to do? To defend 
ourselves against attack ? We have always found means 
to do that, and shall find them whenever it is necessary 
without calling our people away from their necessary 
tasks to render compulsory military service in times 
of peace. 

Allow me to speak with great plainness and direct- 
ness upon this great matter and to avow my convictions 
with deep earnestness. I have tried to know what 
America is, what her people think, what they are, what 
they most cherish and hold dear. I hope that some 
of their finer passions are in my own heart, — some of 
the great conceptions and desires which gave birth to 
this Government and which have made the voice of 
this people a voice of peace and hope and liberty 


among the peoples 'of the world, and that, speaking 
my own thoughts, I shall, at least in part, speak theirs 
also, however faintly and inadequately, upon this vital 

We are at peace with all the world. No one who 
speaks counsel based on fact or drawn from a just 
and candid interpretation of realities can say that there 
is reason to fear that from any quarter our inde- 
pendence or the integrity of our territory is threatened. 
Dread of the power of any other nation we are in- 
capable of. We are not jealous of rivalry in the fields 
of commerce or of any other peaceful achievement. 
We mean to live our own lives as we will; but we 
mean also to let live. We are, indeed, a true friend 
to all the nations of the world, because we threaten 
none, covet the possessions of none, desire the over- 
throw of none. Our friendship can be accepted and 
is accepted without reservation, because it is offered 
^ a spirit and for a purpose which no one need ever 
question or suspect. Therein lies our greatness. We 
^e the champions of peace and of concord. And we 
shoixid be very jealous of this distinction which we 
^^e sought to earn. Just now we should be particularly 
jealous of it, because it is our dearest present hope 
^t this character and reputation may presently, in 
^^'s providence, bring us an opportunity such as has 
seldom been vouchsafed any nation, the opportunity 
to cotmsel and obtain peace in the world and recon- 
ciliation and a healing settlement of many a matter 
that has cooled and interrupted the friendship of 
nations. This is the time above all others when we 


should wish and resolve to keep our strength by self- 
possession, our influence by preserving our ancient 
principles of action. 

From the first we have had a clear and settled 
policy with regard to military establishments. We 
never have had, and while we retain our present prin- 
ciples and ideals we never shall have, a large standing 
army. If asked. Are you ready to defend yourselvesi 
we reply. Most assuredly, to the utmost; and yet w^ 
shall not turn America into a military camp. We wil^ 
not ask our young men to spend the best years of theiJ^ 
lives making soldiers of themselves. There is anothe^ 
sort of energy in us. It will know how to declare 
itself and make itself effective should occasion arise.^^ 
And especially when half the world is on fire we shall ^ 
be careful to make our moral insurance against the 
spread of the conflagration very definite and certain 
and adequate indeed. 

Let us remind ourselves, therefore, of the only thing 
we can do or will do. We must depend in every time 
of national peril, in the future as in the past, not upon 
a standing army, nor yet upon a reserve army, but 
upon a citizenry trained and accustomed to arms. It 
will be right enough, right American policy, based 
upon our accustomed principles and practices, to pro- 
vide a system by which every citizen who will volunteer 
for the training may be made familiar with the use 
of modem arms, the rudiments of drill and maneuver, 
and the maintenance and sanitation of camps. We 
should encourage such training and make it a means 
of discipline which our young men will learn to value. 


t' is right that we should provide it not only, but 
iiat we should make it as attractive as possible, and 
> induce our young men to undergo it at such times 
3 they can command a little freedom and can seek 
le physical development they need, for mere health's 
ike, if for nothing more. Every means by which 
ich things can be stimulated is legitimate, and such 
method smacks of true American ideas. It is right, 
K), that the National Guard of the States should be 
Bveloped and strengthened by every means which is 
3t inconsistent with our obligations to our own people 
r with the established policy of our Government. And 
lis, also, not because the time or occasion specially 
JObs for such measures, but because it should be our 
»x)stant policy to make these provisions for our na- 
cnal peace and safety. 

More than this carries with it a reversal of the 
fciole history and character of our polity. More than 
:i8, proposed at this time, permit me to say, would 
ean merely that we had lost our self-possession, that 
B had been thrown off our balance by a war with 
tiich we have nothing to do, whose causes can not 
xich us, whose very existence affords us opportunities 
^ friendship and disinterested service which should 
-ake us ashamed of any thought of hostility or fearful 
t^eparation for trouble. This is assuredly the oppor- 
Uaity for which a people and a government like ours 
ere raised up, the opportunity not only to speak but 
2tually to embody and exemplify the counsels of peace 
Qd amity and the lasting concord which is based on 
^^stice and fair and generous dealing. 


A powerful navy we have always regarded as o\ 
proper and natural means of defense ; and it has always^""*^ 
been of defense that we have thought, never of ag- 
gression or of conquest. But who shall tell us now 
what sort of a navy to build? We shall take leave 
to be strong upon the seas, in the future as in the 
past; and there will be no thought of offense or of 
provocation in that. Our ships are our natural bul- 
warks. When will the experts tell us just what kind 
we should construct — ^and when will they be right for 
ten years together, if the relative efficiency of craft 
of different kinds and uses continues to change as we 
have seen it change under our very eyes in these last 
few months? 

But I turn away from the subject. It is not new. 
There is no new nee4 t^ discuss it. We shall not alter 
our attitude toward it because some amongst us are 
nervous and excited. We shall easily and sensibly 
agree upon a policy of defense. The question has not 
changed its aspect because the times are not normal. 
Our policy will not be for an occasion. It will be 
conceived as a permanent and settled thing, which we 
will pursue at all seasons, without haste and after a 
fashion perfectly consistent with the peace of the 
world, the abiding friendship of States, and the un- 
hampered freedom of all with whom we deal. Let 
there be no misconception. The country has been mis- 
informed. We have not been negligent of national 
defense. We are not unmindful of the great responsi- 
bility resting upon us. We shall learn and profit by 
the lesson of every experience and every new cir- 


cumstance; and what is needed will be adequately 

I dose, as I began, by reminding you of the great 

tasks and duties of peace which challenge our best 

powers and invite us to build what will last, the tasks 

to which we can address ourselves now and at all 

times with free-hearted zest and with all the finest gifts 

of constructive wisdom we possess. To develop our 

life and our resources; to supply our own people, and 

-the i)eople of the world as their need arises, from the 

^ibundant plenty of our fields and our marts of trade; 

^o enrich the commerce of our own States and of the 

-^vorld with the products of our mines, our farms, and 

ur factories, with the creations of our thought and 

e fruits of our character, — ^this is what will hold our 

attention and our enthusiasm steadily, now and in the 

«ars to come, as we strive to show in our life as a 

tion what liberty and the inspirations of an emanci- 

ted spirit may do for men and for societies, for 

dividuals, for states, and for mankind. 




APRIL 20, 1915 

Mb. President, Geittlemen of the Associated Press, 
Ladies, and Gentlemen: 

I am deeply gratified by the generous reception you 
have accorded me. It makes me look back with a touch 
of regret to former occasions when I have stood in this 
place and enjoyed a greater liberty than is granted me 
to-day. There have been times when I stood in this 
spot and said what I really thought, and I cannot help 
praying that those days of indulgence may be accorded 
me again. I have come here to-day, of course, some- 
what restrained by a sense of responsibility which I 
cannot escape. For I take the Associated Press very 
seriously. I know the enormous part that you play in 
the affairs not only of this country but of the world. 
You deal in the raw material of opinion and, if my con- 
victions have any validity, opinion ultimately govern^ 
the world. 

It is, therefore, of very serious things that I thinks 
as I face this body of men. I do not think of you, how — 
ever, as members of the Associated Press. I do not#"^ 
think of you as men of different parties or of differen1i"-i 
racial derivations or of different religious denomina^J 
tions. I want to talk to you as to my fellow citizen*^ 
of the United States, for there are serious things whic^ 


as fellow citizens we ought to consider. The times be- 
hind US, gentlemen, have been difficult enough ; the times 
before us are likely to be more difficult still, because, 
whatever may be said about the present condition of 
the world's affairs, it is dear that they are drawing 
rapidly to a climax, and at the climax the test will 
come, not only for the nations engaged in the present 
colossal struggle — ^it will come to them, of course — ^but 
the test will come for us particularly. 

Do you realize that, roughly speaking, we are the 

c>nly great Nation at present disengaged? I am not 

isipeaking, of course, with disparagement of the greatness 

4:>i those nations in Europe which are not parties to the 

jpjresent war, but I am thinking of their close neighbor- 

iiood to it. I am thinking how their lives much more 

tioLSL.:si ours touch the very heart and stuff of the business, 

T^li^reas we have rolling between us and those bitter 

across the water 3,000 miles of cool and silent 

Our atmosphere is not j^t charged with those 

di^rfcurbing elements which must permeate every nation 

^^ ^IKurope. Therefore, is it not likely that the nations 

^-^ 'de world will some day turn to us for the cooler 

^^^^assment of the elements engaged? I am not now 

^^^*-^*:iking so preposterous a thought as that we should 

^^ dn judgment upon them — ^no nation is fit to sit in 

^^^^pment upon any other nation — ^but that we shall some 

^^*-"^^ have to assist in reconstructing the processes of 

^^^^ce. Our resources are untouched; we are more and 

'^^^ire becoming by the force of circumstances the medi- 

ft-xii^g Nation of the world in respect of its finance. We 

^Xist make up our minds what are the best things to do 


and what are the best ways to do them. We must put 
our money, our energy, our enthusiasm, our sympathy 
into these things, and we must have our judgments pre- 
pared and our spirits chastened against the coming of 
that day. 

So that I am not speaking in a selfish spirit when I 
say that our whole duty, for the present at any rate, is 
summed up in this motto, ** America first.'* Let us think 
of America before we think of Europe, in order that 
America may be fit to be Europe's friend when the day 
of tested friendship comes. The test of friendship is 
not now sympathy with the one side or the other, but 
getting ready to help both sides when the struggle is 
over. The basis of neutrality, gentlemen, is not indif- 
ference; it is not self-interest. The basis of neutrality 
is sympathy for mankind. It is fairness, it is good will, 
at bottom. It is impartiality of spirit and of judgment* 
I wish that all of our fellow citizens could realize that. 
There is in some quarters a disposition to create dis- 
tempers in this body poUtic. Men are even uttering 
slanders against the United States, as if to excite her. 
Men are saying that if we should go to war upon either 
side there would be a divided America — an abominable 
libel of ignorance 1 America is not all of it vocal just 
now. It is vocal in spots, but I, for one, have a complete 
and abiding faith in that great silent body of Ameri- 
cans who are not standing up and shouting and express- 
ing their opinions just now, but are waiting to find out 
and support the duty of America. I am just as sure of 
their solidity and of their loyalty and of their una- 
nimity, if we act justly, as I am that the history of this 


country has at every crisis and turning-point illustrated 
this great lesson. 

We are the mediating Nation of the world, I do not 
mean that we undertake not to mind our own business 
and to mediate where other people are quarreling. I 
mean the word in a broader sense. We are compoimded 
of the nations of the world ; we mediate their blood, we 
xnediate their traditions, we mediate their sentiments, 
iJieir tastes, their passions ; we are ourselves compoimded 
4^i those things. We are, therefore, able to imderstand 
£iJl nations ; we are able to understand them in the com- 
pound, not separately, as partisans, but unitedly as 
Icxiowing and comprehending and embodying them all. 
It is in that sense that I mean that America is a medi- 
ating Nation. The opinion of America, the action of 
-Aaxierica, is ready to turn, and free to tiun, in any 
direction. Did you ever reflect upon how almost every 
^ttier nation has through long centuries been headed in 
one direction? That is not true of the United States. 
^I^lie United States has no racial momentum. It has no 
\Ty back of it which makes it run all its energies 
all its ambitions in one particular direction. And 
lerica is particularly free in this, that she has no 
^^^Unpering ambitions as a world power. We do not 
^^^nt a foot of anybody's territory. If we have been 
^c>liged by circumstances, or have considered ourselves 
^ be obliged by circumstances, in the past, to take terri- 
**^^ which we otherwise would not have thought of 
^^Jring, I believe I am right in saying that we have 
^^^^Dsidered it our duty to administer that territory, not 
*oir ourselves but for the people living in it, and to put 


this burden upon our consciences — ^not to think that th0 
thing is ours for our use, but to regard ourselves a- 
trustees of the great business for those to whom it does 
really belong, trustees ready to hand it over to the 
cestui que trust at any time when the business seems 
to make that possible and feasible. That is what I mean 
by saying we have no hampering ambitions. We do not 
want anything that does not belong to us. Is not a 
nation in that position free to serve other nations, and 
is not a nation like that ready to form some part of the 
assessing opinion of the world? 

My interest in the neutrality of the United States 
is not the petty desire to keep out of trouble. To judge 
by my experience, I have never been able to keep out 
of trouble. I have never looked for it, but I have 
always found it. I do not want to walk aroimd trouble. 
If any man wants a scrap that is an interesting scrap 
and worth while, I am his man. I warn him that he is 
not going to draw me into the scrap for his advertise- 
ment, but if he is looking for trouble that is the trouble 
of men in general and I can help a little, why, then, I 
am in for it. But I am interested in neutrality because 
there is something so much greater to do than fight; 
there is a distinction waiting for this Nation that no 
nation has ever yet got. That is the distinction of abso- 
lute self-control and self-mastery. Whom do you ad- 
mire most among your friends? The irritable mant 
The man out of whom you can get a **rise'' without 
trying ? The man who will fight at the drop of the hat, 
whether he knows what the hat is dropped for or not? 
Don't you admire and don't you fear, if you have to 


contest with him, the self-mastered man who watches 
you with cahn eye and comes in only when you have 
carried the thing so far that you must be disposed of 9 
That is the man you respect. That is the man who, you 
know, has at bottom a much more fundamental and ter- 
rible courage than the irritable, fighting man. Now, I 
covet for America this splendid courage of reserve moral 
force, and I wanted to point out to you gentlemen sim- 
ply this: 

There is news and news. There is what is called 

news from Turtle Bay that turns out to be falsehood, 

^t any rate in what it is said to signify, but which, if 

^ou could get the Nation to believe it true, might dis- 

-turb our equilibrium and our self-possession. We ought 

^lot to deal in stuff of that kind. We ought not to per- 

onit that sort of thing to use up the electrical energy of 

"tlie wires, because its energy is malign, its energy is not 

^>f the truth, its energy is of mischief. It is possible to 

eift truth. I have known some things to go out on the 

"^jeires as true when there was only one man or one group 

of men who could have told the originators of that report 

"whether it was true or not, and they were not asked 

"^^hether it was true or not for fear it might not be true. 

T^iat sort of report ought not to go out over the wires. 

T?here is generally, if not always, somebody who knows 

"Whether the thing is so or not, and in these days, above 

cdl other days, we ought to take particular pains to resort 

to the one small group of men, or to the one man if 

there be but one, who knows whether those things are 

true or not. The world ought to know the truth; the 

world ought not at this period of unstable equilibrium 


to be disturbed by rumor, ought not to be disturbed by 
imaginative combinations of circumstances, or, rather, 
by circumstances stated in combination which do not 
belong in combination. You gentlemen, and gentlemen 
engaged like you, are holding the balances in your hand. 
This unstable equilibrium rests upon scales that are in 
your hands. For the food of opinion, as I began by 
iiuying, is the news of the day. I have known many a 
man to go off at a tangent on information that was not 
reliable. Indeed, that describes the majority of men« 
The world is held stable by the man who waits for the 
next day to find out whether the report was true or not. 

We cannot afford, therefore, to let the rumors of 
irresponsible persons and origins get into the atmos- 
phere of the United States. We are trustees for what 
1 venture to say is the greatest heritage that any nation 
over had, the love of justice and righteousness and 
human liberty. For, f imdamentally, those are the things 
to which America is addicted and to which she is devoted. 
There are groups of selfish men in the United States, 
there are coteries, where sinister things are purposed, 
but the great heart of the American people is just as 
sound and true as it ever was. And it is a single heart ; 
it is the heart of America. It is not a heart made up 
of sections selected out of other countries. 

What I try to remind myself of every day when I am 
almost overcome by perplexities, what I try to remem- 
ber, is what the people at home are thinking about. I 
try to put myself in the place of the man who does not 
know all the things that I know and ask myself what 
he would like the policy of this coimtry to be. Not the 


talkative man, not the partisan man, not the man who 
remembers first that he is a Republican or a Democrat, 
or that his parents were German or English, but the 
man who remembers first that the whole destiny of 
modem affairs centers largely upon his being an Ameri- 
can first of all. K I permitted myself to be a partisan 
in this present struggle, I would be imworthy to repre- 
sent you. If I permitted myself to forget the people/ 
who are not partisans, I would be imworthy to be your 
spokesman. I am not sure that I am worthy to repre- 
sent you, but I do claim this degree of worthiness — ^that 
before everything else I love America. 


Mr. Mayor, Fellow Citizens: 

It warms my heart thkt you should give me such a 
reception; but it is not of myself that I wish to think 
to-night, but of those who have just become citizens of 
the United States- 

This is the only country in the world which experi- 
ences this constant and repeated rebirth. Other coun- 
tries depend upon the multiplication of their own native 
people. This country is constantly drinking strength 
out of new sources by the voluntary association with it 
of great bodies of strong men and forward-looking 
women out of other lands. And so by the gift of the 
free will of independent people it is being constantly 
renewed from generation to generation by the same 
process by which it was originally created. It is as if 
humanity had determined to see to it that this great 
Nation, founded for the benefit of humanity, should not 
lack for the allegiance of the people of the world. 

You have just taken an oath of allegiance to the 
United States. Of allegiance to whom? Of allegiance 
to no one, unless it be God — certainly not of allegiance 
to those who temporarily represent this great Govern- 
ment. You have taken an oath of allegiance to a great 
ideal, to a great body of principles, to a great hope of 



the hmnan race- You have said, "We are going to 
America not only to earn a living, not only to seek the 
t^gs which it was more difficult to obtain where we 
^ei^e bom, but to help forward the great enterprises of 
tile hmnan spirit — ^to let men know that everywhere in 
^^ World there are men who will cross strange oceans 
^d go where a speech is spoken which is alien to them 
^ they can but satisfy their quest for what their spirits 
^^Ve; knowing that whatever the speech there is but 
^«e longing and utterance of the human heart, and 
^'^"t is for liberty and justice/' And while you bring 
^ countries with you, you come with a purpose of 
l^^^ving all other coimtries behind you — ^bringing what 
^ l>€st of their spirit, but not looking over your shoul- 
^^^x^ and seeking to perpetuate what you intended to 
lea^v^e behind in them. I certainly would not be one even 
*^o suggest that a man cease to love the home of his 
*^^Jrtli and the nation of his origin — ^these things are very 
f^^^x^ed and ought not to be put out of our hearts — ^but 
^^ is one thing to love the place where you were born 
^-^^ it is another thing to dedicate yourself to the place 
7^ ^^hich you go. You cannot dedicate yourself to 
«rica unless you become in every respect and with 
purpose of your will thorough Americans. You 
lot become thorough Americans if you think of 
^^^"^x^^ves in groups. America does not consist of 
^^^^^Xips. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to 
* ^*^ — L.--.-!^-^ national group in America has not yet 

^^ome an American, and the man who goes among you 
^^ tiirade upon your nationality is no worthy son to live 
^^^^^€r the Stars and Stripes. 


My urgent advice to you would be, not only always 
to think first of America, but always, also, to think first 
of humanity. You do not love humanity if you seek to 
divide himianity into jealous camps. Himianity can be 
welded together only by love, by sympathy, by justice, 
not by jealousy and hatred. I am sorry for the man 
who seeks to make personal capital out of the passions 
of his fellow-men. He has lost the touch and ideal of 
America, for America was created to unite mankind by 
those passions which lift and not by the passions which 
separate and debase. We came to America, either our- 
selves or in the persons of our ancestors, to better the 
ideals of men, to make them see finer things than they 
had seen before, to get rid of the things that divide and 
to make sure of the things that unite. It was but an 
historical accident no doubt that this great coimtry was 
called the *^ United States ^^; yet I am very thankful that 
it has that word *^ United ^^ in its title, and the man 
who seeks to divide man from man, group from group, 
interest from interest in this great Union is striking at 
its very heart. 

It is a very interesting circumstance to me, in think- 
ing of those of you who have just sworn allegiance to 
this great Government, that you were drawn across the 
ocean by some beckoning finger of hope, by some belief, 
by some vision of a new kind of justice, by some expec- 
tation of a better kind of life. No doubt you have been 
disappointed in some of us. Some of us are very dis- 
appointing. No doubt you have found that justice in 
the United States goes only with a pure heart and a 
right purpose as it does everywhere else in the world. 


ZNo doubt what you found here did not seem touched for 

^ou, after all, with the complete beauty of the ideal 

-which you had conceived beforehand. But remember 

^this: If we had grown at all poor in the ideal, you 

7>rought some of it with you. A man does not go out 

^to seek the thing that is not in him. A man does not 

Diope for the thing that he does not believe in, and if 

some of us have forgotten what America believed in, 

:^oii, at any rate, imported in your own hearts a renewal 

^>t the belief. That is the reason that I, for one, make 

^ou welcome. If I have in any degree forgotten what 

lerica was intended for, I will thank God if you will 

me. I was bom in America. You dreamed 

^clreams of what America was to be, and I hope you 

"■Drought the dreams with you. No man that does not see 

^^idfiions will ever realize any high hope or undertake any 

enterprise. Just because you brought dreams with 

'ou, America is more likely to realize dreams such as 

^ou brought. You are enriching us if you came expect- 

us to be better than we are. 

See, my friends, what that means. It means that 

^^ jnericans must have a consciousness different from the 

'•^consciousness of every other nation in the world. I am 

lot saying this with even the slightest thought of criti- 

ism of other nations. You know how it is with a 

:amily. A family gets centered on itself if it is not 

*^3areful and is less interested in the neighbors than it 

^S^ in its own members. So a nation that is not con- 

^stantly renewed out of new sources is apt to have the 

^imrrowness and prejudice of a family; whereas, America 

Inust have this consciousness, that on all sides it touches 


elbows and touches hearts with all the nations of man- 
kind. The example of America must be a special ex- 
ample. The example of America must be the example 
not merely of peace because it will not fight, but of peace 
because peace is the healing and elevating influence of 
the world and strife is not. There is such a thing as a 
man being too proud to fight. There is such a thing as a 
nation being so right that it does not need to convince 
others by force that it is right. 

You have come into this great Nation voluntarily 
seeking something that we have to give, and all that we 
have to give is this : We cannot exempt you from work. 
No man is exempt from work anywhere in the world. 
We cannot exempt you from the strife and the heart- 
breaking burden of the struggle of the day — ^that is 
common to mankind everywhere ; we cannot exempt you 
from the loads that you must carry. We can only make 
them light by the spirit in which they are carried. That 
is the spirit of hope, it is the spirit of liberty, it is the 
spirit of justice. 

When I was asked, therefore, by the Mayor and the 
committee that accompanied him to come up from 
Washington to meet this great company of newly ad- 
mitted citizens, I could not decline the invitation. I 
ought not to be away from Washington, and yet I feel 
that it has renewed my spirit as an American to be 
here. In Washington men tell you so many things every 
day that are not so, and I like to come and stand in the 
presence of a great body of my fellow-citizens, whether 
they have been my fellow-citizens a long time or a short 
time, and drink, as it were, out of the common fountains 


^rL^iJi them and go back feeling what you have so gen- 
exTO"«ifily given me — ^the sense of your support and of the 

vitality in your hearts of the great ideals which 
made America the hope of the world. 





Mb. Mayor, Mr. Secretary, Admiral Fletcher, and 
Gentlemen of the Fleet: 

This is not an occasion upon which, it seems to me, 
it would be wise for me to make many remarks, but I 
would deprive myself of a great gratification if I did 
not express my pleasure in being here, my gratitude 
for the splendid reception which has been accorded me 
as the representative of the Nation, and my profound 
interest in the Navy of the United States. That is an 
interest with which I was apparently bom, for it began 
when I was a yoimgster and has ripened with my knowl- 
edge of the affairs and policies of the United States. 

I think it is a natural, instinctive judgment of the 
people of the United States that they express their 
power most appropriately in an efficient navy, and their 
interest in their ships is partly, I believe, because that 
Navy is expected to express their character, not within 
our own borders where that character is imderstood, but 
outside our borders where it is hoped we may occasion- 
ally touch others with some slight vision of what Amer- 
ica stands for. 

Before I speak of the Navy of the United States, I 
want to take advantage of the first public opportunity I 



have had to speak of the Secretary of the Navy, to ex- 
press my confidence and my admiration, and to say that 
he has my imqualified support. For I have counseled 
with Viim in intimate fashion ; I know how sincerely he 
has it at heart that everything that the Navy does and 
liandles should be done and handled as the people of the 
TJnited States wish it handled. Efficiency is something 
XJkore than organization. Efficiency runs to the extent 
of lifting the ideals of a service above every personal 
interest. So when I speak my support of the Secretary 
the Navy I am merely speaking my support of what 
2snow every true lover of the Navy to desire and to 
pxi.3*pose; for the Navy of the United States is, as I 
e said, a body specially intrusted with the ideals of 

I like to image in my thought this idea : These quiet 

s lying in the river have no suggestion of bluster 

^^oiit them, no intimation of aggression. They are com- 

i^Q^tuded by men thoughtful of the duty of citizens as 

^«U as the duty of officers, men acquainted with the 

^^^^^^aditions of the great service to which they belong, 

ttxexi who know by touch with the people of the United 

»t«tte8 what sort of purposes they ought to entertain and 

''^Ha.t sort of discretion they ought to exercise in order 

^ Viae those engines of force as engines to promote the 

^^texests of himianity. 

The interesting and inspiring thing about America, 

S^xitlemen, is that she asks nothing for herself except 

^^^t she has a right to ask for humanity itself. We 

'^^^t no nation's property. We mean to question no 

^ticn's honor. We do not wish to stand selfishly in 


the way of the development of any nation. We want 
nothing that we cannot get by our own legitimate enter- 
prise and by the inspiration of our own example; and, 
standing for these things, it is not pretension on our 
part to say that we are privileged to stand for what 
every nation would wish to stand for, and speak for 
those things which all himianity must desire. 

When I think of the flag which those ships carry, 
the only touch of color about them, the only thing that 
moves as if it had a subtle spirit in it in their solid 
structure, it seems to me that I see alternate strips of 
parchment upon which are written the rights of liberty 
and justice, and stripes of blood spilt to vindicate those 
rights; and, then, in the comer a prediction of the blue 
serene into which every nation may swim which stands 
for these things. 

The mission of America is the only thing that a 
sailor or a soldier should think about. He has nothing 
to do with the formulation of her policy. He is to sup- 
port her policy whatever it is ; but he is to support her 
policy in the spirit of herself, and the strength of our 
polity is that we who for the time being administer the 
affairs of this Nation do not originate her spirit. We 
attempt to embody it ; we attempt to realize it in action ; 
we are dominated by it, we do not dictate it. 

So with every man in arms who serves the Nation; 
he stands and waits to do the thing which the Nation 
desires. Those who represent America sometimes seem 
to forget her programs, but the people never forget 
them. It is as startling as it is touching to see how 
whenever you touch a principle you touch the hearts of 


the people of the United States, They listen to your 
debates of policy, they determine which party they will 
prefer to power, they choose and prefer as between men, 
but their real affection, their real force, their real irre- 
sistible momentum is for the ideas which men embody. 
JL never go on the streets of a great city without feeling 
''that somehow I do not confer elsewhere than on the 
Greets with the great spirit of the people themselves, 
oing about their business, attending to the things which 
xnmediately concern them, and yet carrying a treasure 
t iheir hearts all the while, ready to be stirred not only 
±idividuals but as members of a great union of hearts 
t constitutes a patriotic people. This sight in the 
«r touches me merely as a symbol of all this ; and it 
qimickens the pulse of every man who realizes these 
fixings to have anything to do with them. When a crisis 
^x^crurs in this country, gentlemen, it is as if you put 
y^oxir hand on the pulse of a dynamo, it is as if the 
^^i^iiags that you were in connection with were spiritually 
^^^ed, as if you had nothing to do with them except, if 
listen truly, to speak the things that y^u hear. 
These things now brood over the river; this spirit 
moves with the men who represent the Nation in 
*^e Navy; these things will move upon the waters in the 
^^^axieuvers — ^no threat lifted against any man, against 
^^y nation, against any interest, but just a great solemn 
^^clence that the force of America is the force of moral 
P^clnciple, that there is nothing else that she loves, and 
^^t there is nothing else for which she will contend. 

MAY 24, 1915 

The diplomatic and consular appropriations bill, approved by President Wil* 
son March 4, 1916, contained a provision for a financial conference of the 
Americas : 

''The President is hereby authorized to extend to the Governments of Cen* 
tral and South America an invitation to be represented by their ministers of 
finance and leading bankers, not exceeding three in number in each case, to 
attend a conference with the Secretary of the Treasury in the City of Washington, 
at such date as shall be determined by the President, with a view to establishing 
closer and more satisfactory financial relations between their countries and the 
United States of America, and authority is hereby given to the Secretary of the 
Treasury to invite, in his discretion, representative bankers of the United States 
to participate in the said conference, and for the purpose of meeting such actual 
and necessary expenses as may be incidental to the meeting of said conference 
and for the entertainment of the foreign conferees the sum of $50,000 is hereby ap- 
propriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to be 
expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury." 

In pursuance of this act the Secretary of State extended invitations, on 
behalf of the President, to the countries of Latin America, all of which were 
represented by delegates of their choice at a meeting held in Washington, May 
24-29, 1915. Of this conference, the Honorable William G. McAdoo, Secretary of 
the Treasury, was president, and at the opening session of the conference. 
President Wilson delivered the following address. 

Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen op the American Repub- 
lics, Ladies and Gentlemen: 
The part that falls to me this moming is a very 
simple one, but a very delightful one. It is to bid you 
a very hearty welcome indeed to this conference. The 
welcome is the more hearty because we are convinced 
that a conference like this will result in the things that 
we most desire. I am sure that those who have this 
conference in charge have already made plain to you 
its purpose and its spirit. Its purpose is to draw the 



Lerican Republics together by bonds of common inter- 
^^st and of mutual understanding; and we comprehend, 
hope, just what the meaning of that is. There can be 
10 sort of union of interest if there is a purpose of 
exploitation by any one of the parties to a great con- 
'erence of this sort. The basis of successful commer- 
dal intercourse is common interest, not selfish interest. 
'i is an actual interchange of services and of values: 
is based upon reciprocal relations and not selfish rela- 
'fcioxis. It is based upon those things upon which all suc- 
<3eseiful economic intercourse must be based, because 
selfishness breeds suspicion; suspicion, hostility; and 
lioj3tility, failure. We are not, therefore, trying to make 
of each other, but we are trying to be of use to 
lit is very surprising to me, it is even a source of 
ttioxrtification, that a conference like this should have 
t>^eii so long delayed, that it should never have occurred 
^f ore, that it should have required a crisis of the world 
^ slow the Americas how truly they were neighbors to 
oxie another. If there is any one happy circumstance, 
S^xitlemen, arising out of the present distressing condi- 
^on of the world, it is that it has revealed us to one 
^xiother : it has shown us what it means to be neighbors. 
-^^d I cannot help harboring the hope, the very high 
*^^pe, that by this commerce of minds with one another, 
^ ^ell as commerce in goods, we may show the world in 
part the path to peace. It would be a very great thing 
^ the Americas could add to the distinction which they 
^eady wear this of showing the way to peace, to per- 
^^^tanent peace. 


The way to peace for us, at any rate, is manifest. 
It is the kind of rivalry which does not involve aggres- 
sion. It is the knowledge that men can be of the greatest 
service to one another, and nations of the greatest serv- 
ice to one another, when the jealousy between them is 
merely a jealousy of excellence, and when the basis of 
their intercourse is friendship. There is only one way 
in which we wish to take advantage of you and that is 
by making better goods, by doing the things that we 
seek to do for each other better, if we can, than you do 
them, and so spurring you on, if we might, by so hand- 
some a jealousy as that to excel us. I am so keenly 
aware that the basis of personal friendship is this com- 
petition in excellence, that I am perfectly certain that 
this is the only basis for the friendship of nations, — ^this 
handsome rivalry, this rivalry in which there is no dis- 
like, this rivalry in which there is nothing but the hope 
of a common elevation in great enterprises which we 
can undertake in common. 

There is one thing that stands in our way among 
others — ^f or you are more conversant with the circum- 
stances than I am; the thing I have chiefly in mind is 
the physical lack of means of communication, the lack 
of vehicles, — ^the lack of ships, the lack of established 
routes of trade, — ^the lack of those things which are 
absolutely necessary if we are to have true commercial 
and intimate commercial relations with one another; 
and I am perfectly clear in my judgment that if private 
capital cannot soon enter upon the adventure of estab- 
lishing these physical means of communication, the 
government must imdertake to do so. We cannot in- 


definitely stand apart and need each other for the lack 
of what can easily be supplied, and if one instrumen- 
tality cannot supply it, then another must be found 
which will supply it. We cannot know each other unless 
we see each other ; we cannot deal with each other unless 
we communicate with each other. So soon as we com- 
municate and are upon a familiar footing of intercourse, 
^e shall understand one another, and the bonds between 
^e Americas will be such bonds that no influence that 
'tiie world may produce in the future will ever break 

If I am selfish for America, I at least hope that 
,smy selfishness is enlightened. The selfishness Jkhat hurts 
^"*he other party is not enlightened selfishness. If I were 
tcting upon a mere groimd of selfishness, I would seek 
;o benefit the other party and so tie him to myself; so 
^3ithat even if you were to suspect me of selfishness, I hope 
,^ou will also suspect me of intelligence and of knowing 
'"tte only safe way for the establishment of the things 
^"which we covet, as well as the establishment of the 
^4Jiings which we desire and which we would feel honored 
we could earn and win. 

I have said these things because they will perhaps 
enable you to understand how far from formal my wel- 
^5ome to this body is. It is a welcome from the heart, 
it is a welcome from the head ; it is a welcome inspired 
Jby what I hope are the highest ambitions of those who 
3ive in these two great continents, who seek to set an 
example to the world in freedom of institutions, free- 
dom of trade, and intelligence of mutual service. 

BER 11, 1915 

The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, at 
whose meeting in the City of Washington on October 11, 1915, the following 
address was delivered, was organised in Washington, October 11, 1890. The 
objects of the Society, as stated by Article 2 of its Constitution, are: 

"1. To perpetuate the memory of the spirit of the men and women who 
achieved American Independence, by the acquisition and protection of historical 
spots, and the erection of monuments; by the encouragement of historical re- 
search in relation to the Revolution and the publication of its results; by the 
preservation of monuments and relics, and of the records of the individual serv- 
ices of Revolutionary soldiers and patriots, and by the promotion of oelebrationa 
of all patriotic anniversaries. 

*'2. To carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address to 
the American people, 'to promote, as an object of primary importance, institu- 
tions for the general diffusion of knowledge,' thus developing an enlightened 
public opinion, and afford to young and old such advantages as shall develop in 
them the largest capacity for performing the duties of American citizens. 

"3. To cherish, maintain, and extend the institution of American freedom, 
to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for man- 
kind all the blessings of liberty." 

Madam President and Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Again it is my very great privilege to welcome you 
to the City of Washington and to the hospitalities of 
the Capital. May I admit a point of ignorance ? I was 
surprised to learn that this association is so yoimg, and 
that an association so yoimg should devote itself wholly 
to memory I cannot believe. For to me the duties to 
which you are consecrated are more than the duties and 
the pride of memory. 

There is a very great thrill to be had from the 
memories of the American Eevolution, but the Ameri- 



can Jtevolution was a beginmng, not a consummation, 
and the duty laid upon us by that beginning is the duty 
of biinging the things then begun to a noble triumph 
of completion. For it seems to me that the peculiarity 
of patriotism in America is that it is not a mere senti- 
ment. It is an active principle of conduct. It is some- 
thing that was bom into the world, not to please it but 
to regenerate it. It is something that was bom into the 
'w^oxrld to replace systems that had preceded it and to 
brdxig men out upon a new plane of privilege. The 
&loiry of the men whose memories you honor and per- 
X>«tixate is that they saw this vision, and it was a vision 
Uie future. It was a vision of great days to come 
a little handful of three million people upon the 
lers of a single sea should have become a great mul- 
le of free men and women spreading across a great 
^^^^^^^tinent, dominating the shores of two oceans, and 
^^^•^ding West as well as East the influences of individual 
'^edom. These things were consciously in their minds 
tiey framed the great Government which was born 
of the American Revolution; and every time we 
ler to perpetuate their memories it is incumbent 
us that we should be worthy of recalling them and 
we should endeavor by every means in our power 
Emulate their example. 

^Ihe American Revolution was the birth of a nation; 

"^as the creation of a great free republic based upon 

'^<iitions of personal liberty which theretofore had been 

^^*kfined to a single little island, but which it was pur- 

^^^s^d should spread to all mankind. And the singular 

(cination of American history is that it has been a 


process of constant re-creation, of making over again 
in each generation the thing which was conceived at 
first. You know how peculiarly necessary that has been 
in our case, because America has not grown by the mere 
multiplication of the original stock. It is easy to pre- 
serve tradition with continuity of blood ; it is easy in a 
single family to remember the origins of the race and 
the purposes of its organization; but it is not so easy 
when that race is constantly being renewed and aug- 
mented from other sources, from stocks that did not 
carry or originate the same principles. 

So from generation to generation strangers have had 
to be indoctrinated with the principles of the American 
family, and the wonder and the beauty of it all has been 
that the infection has been so generously easy. For the 
principles of liberty are united with the principles of 
hope. Every individual, as well as every Nation, wishes 
to realize the best thing that is in him, the best thing 
that can be conceived out of the materials of which his 
spirit is constructed. It has happened in a way that 
fascinates the imagination that we have not only been 
augmented by additions from outside, but that we have 
been greatly stimulated by those additions. Living in 
the easy prosperity of a free people, knowing that the 
sun had always been free to shine upon us and prosper 
our undertakings, we did not realize how hard the task 
of liberty is and how rare the privilege of liberty is; 
but men were drawn out of every climate and out of 
every race because of an irresistible attraction of their 
spirits to the American ideal. They thought of America 
as lifting, like that great statue in the harbor of New 


Tori, a torch to light the pathway of men to the things 
thstt; they desire, and men of all sorts and conditions 
stiriiggled toward that light and came to our shores with 
^xi ^ager desire to realize it, and a hunger for it such as 
soii3.€ of us no longer felt, for we were as if satiated and 
satiiefied and were indulging ourselves after a fashion 
^^i^^i-* did not belong to the ascetic devotion of the early 
^^"v^otees of those great principles. Strangers came to 
rexxidbid us of what we had promised ourselves and 
^^ti^rough ourselves had promised mankind. All men 
^^^^^^^ci^e to us and said, ** Where is the bread of life with 
^^i^ich you promised to feed us, and have you partaken 
^^ ii; yourselves f For my part, I believe that the con- 
it renewal of this people out of foreign stocks has 
a constant source of reminder to this people of 
it the inducement was that was offered to men who 
^^^xild come and be of our number. 

^ow we have come to a time of special stress and 

There never was a time when we needed more 

^l^^uly to conserve the principles of our own patriotism 

this present time. The rest of the world from 

our polities were drawn seems for the time in the 

^^^^"O^cible and no man can predict what will come out of 

crucible. We stand apart, unembroiied, conscious 

our own principles, conscious of what we hope and 

>ose, so far as our powers permit, for the world at 

_^ , and it is necessary that we should consolidate 

*^^ American principle. Every political action, every 

^^^ial action, should have for its object in America at 

^^^^ time to challenge the spirit of America; to ask 

*^^t every man and woman who thinks first of America 


should rally to the standards of our life. There have 
been some among us who have not thought first of 
America, who have thought to use the might of America 
in some matter not of America's origination. They have 
forgotten that the first duty of a nation is to express 
its own individual principles in the action of the family 
of nations and not to seek to aid and abet any rival or 
contrary ideal. 

Neutrality is a negative word. It is a word that does 
not express what America ought to feel. America has 
a heart and that heart throbs with all sorts of intense 
sympathies, but America has schooled its heart to love 
the things that America believes in and it ought to 
devote itself only to the things that America believes 
in ; and, believing that America stands apart in its ideals, 
it ought not to allow itself to be drawn, so far as its 
heart is concerned, into anybody's quarrel. Not because 
it does not understand the quarrel, not because it does 
not in its head assess the merits of the controversy, but 
because America has promised the world to stand apart 
and maintain certain principles of action which are 
grounded in law and in justice. We are not trying to 
keep out of trouble ; we are trying to preserve the foun- 
dations upon which peace can be rebuilt. Peace can be 
rebuilt only upon the ancient and accepted principles 
of international law, only upon those things which re- 
mind nations of their duties to each other, and, deeper 
than that, of their duties to mankind and to humanity. 

America has a great cause which is not confined to 
the American continent. It is the cause of humanity 
itself. I do not mean in anything that I say even to 


imply a judgment upon any nation or upon any policy, 
for my object here this afternoon is not to sit in judg- 
ment upon anybody but ourselves and to challenge you 
to assist all of us who are trying to make America more 
than ever conscious of her own principles and her own 
duty. I look forward to the necessity in every political 
agitation in the years which are immediately at hand 
of calling upon every man to declare himself, where 
he stands. Is it America first or is it not? 

We ought to be very careful about some of the im- 
pressions that we are forming just now. There is too 
general an impression, I fear, that very large numbers 
of our fellow-citizens bom in other lands have not enter- 
iained with sufficient intensity and affection the Ameri- 
-can ideal. But the number of such is, I am sure, not 
Jarge. Those who would seek to represent them are 
very Tocal, but they are not very influential. Some of 
iiie best stuff of America has come out of foreign lands, 
^nd some of the best stuff in America is in the men who 
-are naturalized citizens of the United States. I would 
"not be afraid upon the test of ** America first" to take 
^ census of all the foreign-bom citizens of the United 
States, for I know that the vast majority of them came 
^ere because they believed in America ; and their belief 
in America has made them better citizens than some 
3)eople who were bom in America. They can say that 
ihey have bought this privilege with a great price. They 
liave left their homes, they have left their kindred, they 
have, broken all the nearest and dearest ties of human 
life in order to come to a new land, take a new rootage, 
begin a new life, and so by self-sacrifice express their 


confidence in a new principle; whereas, it cost ns none 
of these things. We were bom into this privilege; we 
were rocked and cradled in it ; we did nothing to create 
it; and it is, therefore, the greater duty on our part to 
do a great deal to enhance it and preserve it. I am not 
deceived as to the balance of opinion among the foreign- 
born citizens of the United States, but I am in a hurry 
for an opportunity to have a line-up and let the mei 
who are thinking first of other countries stand on one 
side and all those that are for America first, last, and al 
the time on the other side. 

' Now, you can do a great deal in this direction. Whei 
I was a college officer I used to be very much opposec 
to hazing; not because hazing is not wholesome, bu 
because sophomores are poor judges. I remember a ver^ 
dear friend of mine, a professor of ethics on the othei 
side of the water, was asked if he thought it was evei 
justifiable to tell a lie. He said Yes, he thought it wai 
sometimes justifiable to lie; **but,'' he said, **it is s< 
difficult to judge of the justification that I usually tel 
the truth.'* I think that ought to be the motto of tli 
sophomore. There are freshmen who need to be hazec 
but the need is to be judged by such nice tests that 
sophomore is hardly old enough to determine them. Bu 
the world can determine them. We are not freshmen s 
college, but we are constantly hazed. I would a grea 
deal rather be obliged to draw pepper up my nose tha 
to observe the hostile glances of my neighbors. I woul 
a great deal rather be beaten than ostracized. I woul 
a great deal rather endure any sort of physical hare 
ship if I might have the affection of my fellow-mei 

r Wo constantly discipline our fellow-citizens by having 

AH opinion about them. That is the sort of discipline we 
<>uglit now to administer to everybody who is not to the 
^ery core of his heart an American. Just have an 
opixiion about him and let him experience the atmos- 
pheric effects of that opinion I And I know of no body 
^f X>ersons comparable to a body of ladies for creating 
^^ atmosphere of opinion I I have myself in part yielded 
*o tihe influence of that atmosphere, though it took me 
* l^ong time to determine how I was going to vote in 
-^e^w Jersey. 

So it has seemed to me that my privilege this after- 
was not merely a privilege of courtesy, but the 
privilege of reminding you — ^f or I am sure I am 
►ing nothing more— of the great principles which we 
associated to promote. I for my part rejoice that 
belong to a country in which the whole business of 
S^ovemment is so difficult. We do not take orders from 
^•^*^yl)ody; it is a universal communication of conviction, 
e most subtle, delicate, and difficult of processes. 
ere is not a single individual's opinion that is not 
Qome consequence in making up the grand total, and 
l>e in this great co-operative effort is the most stimu- 
ig thing in the world. A man standing alone may 
misdoubt his own judgment. He may mistrust his 
intellectual processes; he may even wonder if his 
^ heart leads him right in matters of public conduct ; 
^^"^ -^ he finds his heart part of the great throb of a 

Lonal life, there can be no doubt about it. If that is 
happy circumstance, then he may know that he is 
^^*t of one of the great forces of the world. 



I would not feel any exhilaration in belonging to 
America if I did not feel that she was something more 
than a rich and powerful nation. I should not feel 
proud to be in some respects and for a little while her 
spokesman if I did not believe that there was some- 
thing else than physical force behind her. I believe that 
the glory of America is that she is a great spiritual con- 
ception and that in the spirit of her institutions dwells 
not only her distinction but her power. The one thing 
that the world cannot permanently resist is the moral 
force of great and triumphant convictions. 





4, 1915 


I warmly felicitate the club upon the completion of 

r^fty years of successful and interesting life. Club life 

:X3iay be made to mean a great deal to those who know 

Jbow to use it. I have no doubt that to a great many of 

jp'ou has come genuine stimulation in the associations of 

"tldfi place and that as the years have multiplied you have 

seen more and more the useful ends which may be served 

by organizations of this sort. 

But I have not come to speak wholly of that, for 

tti^xe are others of your own members who can speak 

iJie dub with a knowledge and an intelligence which 

one can have who has not been intimately associated 

it. Men band themselves together for the sake of 

*^^ association no doubt, but also for something greater 

deeper than that, — ^because they are conscious of 

ion interests lying outside their business occupa- 

^Xis, because they are members of the same conmiunity 

in frequent intercourse find mutual stimulation and 

^ ^eal maxiTnuTn of vitality and power. I shall assume 

^*^^t here around the dinner table on this memorable 

^^^casion our talk should properly turn to the wide and 

^^^5»mon interests which are most in our thoughts, 



whether they be the interests of the community or of 
the nation. 

A year and a half ago our thought would have been 
ahnost altogether of great domestic questions. They are 
many and of vital consequence. We must and shall 
address ourselves to their solution with diligence, firm- 
ness, and self-possession, notwithstanding we find our- 
selves in the midst of a world disturbed by great dis- 
aster and ablaze with terrible war; but our thought is 
now inevitably of new things about which formerly we 
gave ourselves little concern. We are thinking now 
chiefly of our relations with the rest of the world, — ^not 
our commercial relations, — ^about those we have thought 
and planned always, — ^but about our political relations, 
our duties as an individual and independent force in 
the world to ourselves, our neighbors, and the world 

Our principles are well known. It is not necessary 
to avow them again. We believe in political liberty and 
founded our great government to obtain it, the liberty 
of men and of peoples,— of men to choose their own 
lives and of peoples to choose their own allegiance. Our 
ambition, also, all the world has knowledge of. It is 
not only to be free and prosperous ourselves, but also 
to be the friend and thoughtful partisan of those who 
are free or who desire freedom the world over. If we 
have had aggressive purposes and covetous ambitions, 
they were the fruit of our thoughtless youth as a nation 
and we have put them aside. We shall, I confidently 
believe, never again take another foot of territory by 
conquest. We shall never in any circumstances seek to 


make an independent people subject to our dominion; 
l}ecause we believe, we passionately believe, in the right 
of every people to choose their own allegiance and be 
free of masters altogether. For ourselves we wish noth- 
ing but the full liberty of self -development ; and with 
ourselves in this great matter we associate all the peo- 
ples of our own hemisphere. We wish not only for the 
United States but for them the fullest freedom of inde- 
pendent growth and of action, for we know that through- 
out this hemisphere the same aspirations are everywhere 
being worked out, under diverse conditions but with the 
same impidse and ultimate object. 

All this is very clear to us and will, I confidently 
predict, become more and more clear to the whole world 
as the great processes of the future unfold themselves. 
It is with a full consciousness of such principles and 
such ambitions that we are asking ourselves at the pres- 
ent time what our duty is with regard to the armed 
force of the nation. Within a year we have witnessed 
what we did not believe possible, a great European con- 
flict involving many of the greatest nations of the world. 
The influences of a great war are everywhere in the air. 
-AJl Europe is embattled. Force everywhere speaks out 
with a loud and imperious voice in a titanic struggle 
of governments, and from one end of our own dear 
<K)untry to the other men are asking one another what 
our own force is, how far we are prepared to maintain 
ourselves against any interference with our national 
action or development. 

In no man's mind, I am sure, is there even raised 
the question of the willful use of force on our part 


against any nation or any people. No matter what 
military or naval force the United States might develop, 
statesmen throughout the whole world might rest assured 
that we were gathering that force, not for attack in any 
quarter, not for aggression of any kind, not for the 
satisfaction of any political or international ambition, 
but merely to make sure of our own security. We have 
it in mind to be prepared, not for war, but only for 
defense; and with the thought constantly in our minds 
that the principles we hold most dear can be achieved 
by the slow processes of history only in the kindly and 
wholesome atmosphere of peace, and not by the use of 
hostile force. The mission of America in the world is 
essentially a mission of peace and good will among men. 
She has become the home and asylum of men of all 
creeds and races. Within her hospitable borders they 
have found homes and congenial associations and free- 
dom and a wide and cordial welcome, and they have 
become part of the bone and sinew and spirit of America 
itself. America has been made up out of the nations 
of the world and is the friend of the nations of the 

But we feel justified in preparing ourselves to vindi- 
cate our right to independent and unmolested action 
by making the force that is in us ready for asser- 

And we know that we can do this in a way that will 
be itself an illustration of the American spirit. In 
accordance with our American traditions we want and 
shall work for only an army adequate to the constant 
and legitimate uses of times of international peace. 


But we do want to feel that there is a great body of 
dtizens who have received at least the most rudimentary 
and necessary forms of military training ; that they will 
be ready to form themselves into a fighting force at the 
call of the nation; and that the nation has the muni- 
tions and supplies with which to equip them without 
delay should it be necessary to call them into action. 
We wish to supply them with the training they need, 
and we think we can do so without calling them 
at any time too long away from their civilian pur- 

It is with this idea, with this conception, in mind that 
the plans have been made which it will be my privilege 
to lay before the Congress at its next session. That plan 
calls for only such an increase in the regular Army of 
the United States as experience has proved to be re- 
quired for the performance of the necessary duties of 
the Army in the Philippines, in Hawaii, in Porto Bico, 
upon the borders of the United States, at the coast forti- 
fications, and at the military posts of the interior. For 
the rest, it calls for the training within the next three 
years of a force of 400,000 citizen soldiers to be raised 
in annual contingents of 133,000, who would be asked 
to enlist for three years with the colors and three years 
on furlough, but who during their three years of enlist- 
ment with the colors would not be organized as a stand- 
mg force but would be expected merely to undergo inten- 
sive training for a very brief period of each year. Their 
training would take place in immediate association with 
the organized units of the regular Army. It would have 
BO touch of the amateur about it, neither would it exact 


of the volunteers more than they could give in any one 
year from their civilian pursuits. 

And none of this would be done in such a way as 
in the slightest degree to supersede or subordinate our 
present serviceable and efficient National Guard. On 
the contrary, the National Guard itself would be used as 
part of the instrumentality by which training would be 
given the citizens who enlisted under the new conditions, 
and I should hope and expect that the legislation by 
which all this would be accomplished would put the 
National Guard itself upon a better and more perma- 
nent footing than it has ever been before, giving it not 
only the recognition which it deserves, but a more 
definite support from the national government and a 
more definite connection with the military organization 
of the nation. 

What we all wish to accomplish is that the forces 
of the nation should indeed be part of the nation and 
not a separate professional force, and the chief cost of 
the system would not be in the enlistment or in the 
training of the men, but in the providing of ample 
equipment in case it should be necessary to call all forces 
into the field. 

Moreover, it has been American policy time out of 
mind to look to the Navy as the first and chief line of 
defense. The Navy of the United States is already a 
very great and efficient force. Not rapidly, but slowly^ 
with careful attention, our naval force has been devel- 
oped until the Navy of the United States stands recog- 
nized as one of the most efficient and notable of the 
modem time. All that is needed in order to bring it 


to a point of extraordinary force and efficiency as com- 
pared with the other navies of the world is that we 
should hasten our pace in the policy we have long been 
pursuing, and that chief of all we should have a definite 
j)oli(7 of development, not made from year to year but 
Hooking well into the future and planning for a definite 
'^consummation. We can and should profit in all that we 
^o by the experience and example that have been made 
bvious to us by the military and naval events of the 
ctual present. It is not merely a matter of building 
'lE^attleships and cruisers and submarines, but also a mat- 
-^b^r of making sure that we shall have the adequate 
^^uipment of men and mimitions and supplies for the 
^v^essels we build and intend to build. Part of our prob- 
lezxn is the problem of what I may call the mobilization 
o:f ihe resources of the nation at the proper time if it 
alio-aid ever be necessary to mobilize them for national 
^^^^nse. We shall study efficiency and adequate equip- 
^^^^^xit as carefully as we shall study the number and 
of our ships, and I believe that the plans already 
X>^ made public by the Navy Department are plans 
i^ch the whole nation can approve with rational en- 
^o thoughtful man feels any panic haste in this mat- 
• The country is not threatened from any quarter. 
e stands in friendly relations with all the world. Her 
^^urces are known and her self-respect and her capac- 
^^^ to care for her own citizens and her own rights. 
^^ere is no fear amongst us. Under the new-world 
^xiditions we have become thoughtful of the things 
"^hich all reasonable men consider necessary for secur- 


ity and self-defense on the part of every nation con- 
fronted with the great enterprise of human liberty and 
independence. That is all. 

Is the plan we propose sane and reasonable and 
guited to the needs of the hour! Does it not conform 
to the ancient traditions of America! Has any better 
plan been proposed than this program that we now 
place before the country? In it there is no pride of 
opinion. It represents the best professional and expert 
judgment of the country. But I am not so much inter- 
()ited in programs as I am in safeguarding at every 
coat the good faith and honor of the country. If men 
differ with me in this vital matter, I shall ask them to 
make it clear how far and in what way they are inter- 
Oited in making the permanent interests of the country 
iiafa against disturbance. 

In the fulfillment of the program I propose I 
ahall ask for the hearty support of the country, of the 
rank and file of America, of men of all shades of politi- 
cal opinion. For my position in this important matter 
li different from that of the private individual who is 
free to speak his own thoughts and to risk his own 
opinions in this matter. We are here dealing with 
things that are vital to the life of America itself. In 
doing this I have tried to purge my heart of all per- 
nonal and selfish motives. For the time being, I speak 
AS the trustee and guardian of a nation's rights, charged 
with the duty of speaking for that nation in matters 
involving her sovereignty, — a nation too big and gener- 
ous to be exacting and yet courageous enough to defend 
its rights and the liberties of its people wherever 


assailed or invaded. I would not feel that I was dis- 
charging the solemn obligation I owe the country were 
I not to speak in terms of the deepest solemnity of the 
urgency and necessity of preparing ourselves to guard 
and protect the rights and privileges of our people, our 
sacred heritage of the fathers who struggled to make us 
an independent nation. 

The only thing within our own borders that has 
given us grave concern in recent months has been that 
voices have been raised in America professing to be 
the voices of Americans which were not indeed and in 
truth American, but which spoke alien sympathies, 
which came from men who loved other countries better 
than they loved America, men who were partisans of 
other causes than that of America and had forgotten 
that their chief and only allegiance was to the great 
government under which they live. These voices have 
not been many, but they have been very loud and very 
clamorous. They have proceeded from a few who were 
bitter and who were grievously misled. America has not 
opened its doors in vain to men and women out of other 
nations. The vast majority of those who have come to 
iake advantage of her hospitality have united their 
iBpirits with hers as well as their fortunes. These men 
who speak alien sympathies are not their spokesmen but 
are the spokesmen of small groups whom it is high time 
ihat the nation should call to a reckoning. The chief 
thing necessary in America in order that she should let 
all the world know that she is prepared to maintain her 
own great position is that the real voice of the nation 
should sound forth unmistakably and in majestic volume, 


in the deep iinisoii of a commoiiy uDhesitating national 
feeling. I do not doubt that upon the first occasion, 
upon the first opportunity, upon the first definite chal- 
lenge, that voice will speak forth in tones which no man 
can doubt and with commands which no man dare gain- 
say or resist. 

May I not say, while I am speaking of this, that 
there is another danger that we should guard against? 
We should rebuke not only manifestations of racial feel- 
ing here in America where there should be none, but 
also every manifestation of religious and sectarian an- 
tagonism. It does not become America that within her 
borders, where every man is free to follow the dictates 
of his conscience and worship God as he pleases, men 
should raise the cry of church against church. To do 
that is to strike at the very spirit and heart of America. 
We are a God-fearing people. We agree to differ about 
methods of worship, but we are united in believing in 
Divine Providence and in worshiping the God of 
Nations. We are the champions of religious right here 
and everjnvhere that it may be our privilege to give it 
our countenance and support. The government is con- 
scious of the obligation and the nation is conscious of 
the obligation. Let no man create divisions where there 
are none. 

Here is the nation God has builded by our hands. 
What shall we do with it? Who is there who does not 
stand ready at all times to act in her behalf in a spirit 
of devoted and disinterested patriotism? We are yet 
only in the youth and first consciousness of our power. 
The day of our country's life is still but in its fresh 


moming. Let us lift our eyes to the great tracts of 
life yet to be conquered in the interests of righteous 
peace. Gome, let us renew our allegiance to America, 
conserve her strength in its purity, make her chief 
among those who serve mankind, self -reverenced, self- 
commanded, mistress of all forces of quiet counsel, 
strong above all others in good wiU and the might of 
invincible justice and right. 




Gentlemen of the Congbess: 

Since I last had the privilege of addressing you on 
the state of the Union the war of nations on the other 
side of the sea, which had then only begun to disclose 
its portentous proportions, has extended its threatening 
and sinister scope until it has swept within its flame 
some portion of every quarter of the globe, not except- 
ing our own hemisphere, has altered the whole face of 
international affairs, and now presents a prospect of 
reorganization and reconstruction such as statesmen and 
peoples have never been called upon to attempt before. 

We have stood apart, studiously neutral. It was our 
manifest duty to do so. Not only did we have no part 
or interest in the policies which seem to have brought 
the conflict on; it was necessary, if a universal catas- 
trophe was to be avoided, that a limit should be set to 
the sweep of destructive war and that some part of the 
great family of nations should keep the processes of 
peace alive, if only to prevent collective economic ruin 
and the breakdown throughout the world of the indus- 
tries by which its populations are fed and sustained. 
It was manifestly the duty of the self -governed nations 
of this hemisphere to redress, if possible, the balance of 
economic loss and confusion in the other, if they could 



do nothing more. In the day of readjustment and re- 
cuperation we earnestly hope and believe that they can 
be of infinite service. 

In this neutrality, to which they were bidden not 
only by their separate life and their habitual detach- 
ment from the politics of Europe but also by a clear 
perception of international duty, the states of America 
have become conscious of a new and more vital com- 
munity of interest and moral partnership in affairs, 
znore clearly conscious of the many common sympathies 
.and interests and duties which bid them stand together. 
There was a time in the early days of our own great 
oiation and of the republics fighting their way to inde- 
3)endence in Central and South America when the gov- 
*<mment of the United States looked upon itself as in 
^me sort the guardian of the republics to the south of 
3ier as against any encroachments or efforts at political 
-^5ontrol from the other side of the water ; felt it its duty 
^*o play the part even without invitation from them; 
<and I think that we can claim that the task was under- 
^Aaken with a true and disinterested enthusiasm for the 
zfreedom of the Americas and the unmolested self- 
government of her independent peoples. But it was 
<»lways difficult to maintain such a role without offense 
'to the pride of the peoples whose freedom of action we 
sought to protect, and without provoking serious mis- 
conceptions of our motives, and every thoughtful man 
of affairs must welcome the altered circumstances of 
the new day in whose light we now stand, when there 
is no daim of guardianship or thought of wards but, 
instead, a full and honorable association as of partners 


between ourselves and our neighbors, in the interest of 
all America, north and south. Our concern for the inde- 
pendence and prosperity of the states of Central and 
South America is not altered. We retain unabated the 
spirit that has inspired us throughout the whole life 
of our government and which was so frankly put into 
words by President Monroe. We still mean always to 
make a common cause of national independence and of 
political liberty in America. But that purpose is now 
better understood so far as it concerns ourselves. It is 
known not to be a selfish purpose. It is known to have 
in it no thought of taking advantage of any govern- 
ment in this hemisphere or playing its political fortunes 
for our own benefit. All the governments of America 
stand, so far as we are concerned, upon a footing of 
genuine equality and unquestioned independence. 

We have been put to the test in the case of Mexico, 
and we have stood the test. Whether we have benefited 
Mexico by the course we have pursued remains to be 
seen. Her fortunes are in her own hands. But we have 
at least proved that we will not take advantage of her 
in her distress and undertake to impose upon her an 
order and government of our own choosing. Liberty is 
often a fierce and intractable thing, to which no bounds 
can be set, and to which no bounds of a few men's 
choosing ought ever to be set. Every American who 
has drunk at the true f oimtains of principle and tradi- 
tion must subscribe without reservation to the high doc- 
trine of the Virginia Bill of Rights, which in the great 
days in which our government was set up was every- 
where amongst us accepted as the creed of free men. 



That doctrine is, **Tliat govemment is, or ought to be, 
instituted for the common benefit, protection, and secur- 
ity of the people, nation, or community;'' that **of all 
ihe various modes and forms of government, that is the 
"best which is capable of producing the greatest degree 
of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured 
.against the danger of maladministration ; and that, when 
^^7 govemment shall be f oimd inadequate or contrary 
^ these purposes, a majority of the community hath 
^tn indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to 
rareform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be 
fudged most conducive to the public weal/' We have 
-xomhesitatingly applied that heroic principle to the case 
of Mexico, and now hopefully await the rebirth of the 
"fcroubled Republic, which had so much of which to purge 
itaself and so little sympathy from any outside quarter 
ixx the radical but necessary process. We will aid and 
t^efiiend Mexico, but we will not coerce her; and our 
<^ovirse with regard to her ought to be sufficient proof 
to all America that we seek no political suzerainty or 
selfish control. 

The moral is, that the states of America are not 
J^ostile rivals but co-operating friends, and that their 
Knowing sense of community of interest, alike in matters 
Political and in matters economic, is likely to give them 
^ xxew significance as factors in international affairs 
^^^ in the political history of the world. It presents 
^^m as in a very deep and true sense a unit in world 
^flf airs, spiritual partners, standing together because 
^'^'^iiiking together, quick with common sympathies and 
eoinaDion ideals. Separated they are subject to all the 


^ raMUt<«^l politics of a world of 

..*,. i\ ^>irit and purpose they can- 

. , iitiir peaceful destiny. 

.^..A,\wiijsm, It has none of the spirit 

.^ ill? embodiment, the effectual em- 

y».r*t of law and independence and 

^^lJ* of men recently met in the City 

tixe invitation and as the guests of 

whi>se deliberations are likely to be 

, . .WL marking a memorable turning-point 

. ,^a ^}i America. They were representative 

,. il)t<^ several independent states of this 

^ ^ iwLivi were assembled to discuss the financial 

.^viciiil relations of the republics of the two 

^...x v%liivrli nature and political fortune have so 

^^^\ lixtked together. I earnestly recommend to 

v^oskil tlie reports of their proceedings and of 

aciu^ of their committees. You will get from 

I viiaik* a fresh conception of the ease and intelli- 

uui advantage with which Americans of both con- 

^ uuiv draw together in practical co-operation and 

iv ^lai I ho material foundations of this hopeful partner- 

,j .? v^i interest must consist, — of how we should build 

axiu M\\i of how necessary it is that we should hasten 

.KU' building. 

Ihort^ is, I venture to point out, an especial sig- 
• luKv*"^'^^ 3^st now attaching to this whole matter of 
siiawiujj the Americas together in bonds of honorable 
(\4VtiuTship and mutual advantage because of the eco- 
ui^iilc readjustments which the world must inevitably"^ 


witness within the next generation, when peace shall 
have at last resimied its healthful tasks. In the per- 
formance of these tasks I believe the Americas to be 
destined to play their parts together. I am interested 
to fix your attention on this prospect now because unless 
you take it within your view and permit the full sig- 
nificance of it to command your thought I cannot find 
the right light in which to set forth the particular mat- 
ter that lies at the very front of my whole thought as 
I address you to-day. I mean national defense. 

No one who really comprehends the spirit of the 
great people for whom we are appointed to speak can 
fail to perceive that their passion is for peace, their 
genius best displayed in the practice of the arts of peace, 
^reat democracies are not belligerent. They do not seek 
or desire war. Their thought is of individual liberty 
^LZid of the free labor that supports life and the uncen- 
soxed thought that quickens it. Conquest and dominion 
not in our reckoning, or agreeable to our principles, 
it just because we demand unmolested development 
ajGicl the undisturbed government of our own lives upon 
oiix own principles of right and liberty, we resent, from 
wiaatever quarter it may come, the aggression we our- 
selves will not practice. We insist upon security in 
pJ^osecuting our self -chosen lines of national develop- 
in.eiit. We do more than that. We demand it also for 
ottiers. We do not confine our enthusiasm for indi- 
vifiiial liberty and free national development to the 
ii^cidents and movements of affairs which affect only 
ourselves. We feel it wherever there is a people that 
tries to walk in these difficult paths of independence 


and right. From the first we have made common cause 
with all partisans of liberty on this side the sea, and 
have deemed it as important that our neighbors should 
be free from all outside domination as that we ourselves 
should be; have set America aside as a whole for the 
uses of independent nations and political freemen. 

Out of such thoughts grow all our policies. We re- 
gard war merely as a means of asserting the rights of 
a people against aggression. And we are as fiercely 
jealous of coercive or dictatorial power within our own 
nation as of aggression from without. We will not 
maintain a standing army except for uses which are as 
necessary in times of peace as in times of war ; and we 
shall always see to it that our military peace establish- 
ment is no larger than is actually and continuously 
needed for the uses of days in which no enemies move 
against us. But we do believe in a body of free citizens 
ready and suf&cient to take care of themselves and of 
the governments which they have set up to serve them. 
In our constitutions themselves we have commanded 
that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms 
shall not be infringed,'' and our confidence has been 
that our safety in times of danger would lie in the rising 
of the nation to take care of itself, as the farmers rose 
at Lexington. 

But war has never been a mere matter of men and 
guns. It is a thing of disciplined might. If our citi- 
zens are ever to fight effectively upon a sudden sum- 
mons, they must know how modem fighting is done, 
and what to do when the summons comes to render 
themselves immediately available and immediately eff ec- 


tive. And the governmeiit must be their servant in this 
matter, must supply them with the training they need 
to take care of themselves and of it. The military arm 
of their government, which they will not allow to direct 
them, they may properly use to serve them and make 
their independence secure, — ^and not their own inde- 
pendence merely but the rights also of those with whom 
they have made common cause, should they also be put 
in jeopardy. They must be fitted to play the great role 
in the world, and particularly in this hemisphere, which 
they are qualified by principle and by chastened ambi- 
tion to play. 

It is with these ideals in mind that the plans of the 
Department of War for more adequate national defense 
were conceived which will be laid before you, and which 
I urge you to sanction and put into efifect as soon as 
they can be properly scrutinized and discussed. They 
seem to me the essential first steps, and they seem to me 
for the present suf&cient. 

They contemplate an increase of the standing force 
of the regular army from its present strength of five 
thousand and twenty-three of&cers and one hundred and 
two thousand nine hundred and eighty-five enlisted men 
of all services to a strength of seven thousand one him- 
dred and thirty-six officers and one hundred and thirty- 
four thousand seven hundred and seven enlisted men, 
or 141,843, all told, all services, rank and file, by the 
addition of fifty-two companies of coast artillery, fifteen 
companies of engineers, ten regiments of infantry, four 
regiments of field artillery, and four aero squadrons, 
besides seven hundred and fifty officers required for a 


great variety of extra service, especially the all-impor- 
tant duty of training the citizen force of which I shall 
presently speak, seven hundred and ninety-two noa- 
commissioned of&cers for service in drill, recruiting and 
the like, and the necessary quota of enlisted men for 
the Quartermaster Corps, the Hospiiial Corps, the Ord- 
nance Department, and other similar auxiliary services. 
These are the additions necessary to render the army 
adequate for its present duties, duties which it has to 
perform not only upon our own continental coasts and 
borders and at our interior army posts, but also in the 
Philippines, in the Hawaiian Islands, at the Isthmus, 
and in Porto Eico. 

By way of making the country ready to assert some 
part of its real power promptly and upon a larger scale, 
should occasion arise, the plan also contemplates supple- 
menting the army by a force of four hundred thousand 
disciplined citizens, raised in increments of one hundred 
and thirty-three thousand a year throughout a period of 
three years. This it is proposed to do by a process of 
enlistment under which the serviceable men of the coim- 
try would be asked to bind themselves to serve with the 
colors for purposes of training for short periods 
throughout three years, and to come to the colors at 
call at any time throughout an additional **furlough" 
period of three years. This force of four himdred thou- 
sand men would be provided with personal accoutrements 
as fast as enlisted and their equipment for the field made 
ready to be supplied at any time. They would be 
assembled for training at stated intervals at convenient 
places in association with suitable units of the regular 


army. Their period of annual training would not neces- 
sarily exceed two months in the year. 

It would depend upon the patriotic feeling of the 
younger men of the coimtry whether they responded to 
such a call to service or not. It would depend upon the 
patriotic spirit of the employers of the country whether 
they made it possible for the yoimger men in their 
employ to respond under favorable conditions or not. 
I, for one, do not doubt the patriotic devotion either of 
our young men or of those who give them employ- 
ment, — those for whose benefit and protection they would 
xn fact enlist. I would look forward to the success of 
erixch an experiment with entire confidence. 

At least so much by way of preparation for defense 
ems to me to be absolutely imperative now. We can- 
ot do less. 

The program which wiU be laid before you by the 
^S^^cretary of the Navy is similarly conceived. It in- 
ves only a shortening of the time within which plans 
matured shall be carried out; but it does make 
e and explicit a program which has heretofore 
en only implicit, held in the minds of the Commit- 
on Naval Affairs and disclosed in the debates of 
two Houses but nowhere formulated or formally 
^epted. It seems to me very clear that it will be to the 
antage of the country for the Congress to adopt a 
^^^^xnprehensive plan for putting the navy upon a final 
footing of strength and efficiency and to press that plan 
^o completion within the next five years. We have 
^l^ays looked to the navy of the coimtry as our first 
*xid chief line of defense ; we have always seen it to be 


OUT manifest course of prudence to be strong on the 
seas. Year by year we have been creating a navy which 
now ranks very high indeed among the navies of the 
maritime nations. We should now definitely determine 
how we shall complete what we have begun, and how 

The program to be laid before you contemplates 
the construction within five years of ten battleships, 
six battle cruisers, ten scout cruisers, fifty destroyers, 
fifteen fleet submarines, eighty-five coast submarines, 
four gunboats, one hospital ship, two ammunition ships, 
two fuel oil ships, and one repair ship. It is proposed 
that of this number we shall the first year provide for 
the construction of two battleships, two battle cruisers, 
three scout cruisers, fifteen destroyers, five fleet sub- 
marines, twenty-five coast submarines, two gunboats, 
and one hospital ship ; the second year, two battleships, 
one scout cruiser, ten destroyers, four fleet submarines, 
fifteen coast submarines, one gunboat, and one fuel oil 
ship ; the third year, two battleships, one battle cruiser, 
two scout cruisers, five destroyers, two fleet submarines, 
and fifteen coast submarines; the fourth year, two bat- 
tleships, two battle cruisers, two scout cruisers, ten 
destroyers, two fleet submarines, flfteen coast sub- 
marines, one ammunition ship, and one fuel oil ship; 
and the fifth year, two battleships, one battle cruiser, 
two scout cruisers, ten destroyers, two fleet submarines, 
flfteen coast submarines, one gunboat, one ammunition 
ship, and one repair ship. 

The Secretary of the Navy is asking also for the 
immediate addition to the personnel of the navy of 


Beven thousand five hundred sailors, twenty-five hun- 
dred apprentice seamen, and fifteen hundred marines. 
This increase would be sufficient to care for the ships 
which are to be completed within the fiscal year 1917 
and also for the number of men which must be put in 
training to man the ships which will be completed early 
in 1918. It is also necessary that the number of mid- 
shipmen at the Naval Academy at Annapolis should be 
increased by at least three hundred in order that the 
force of officers should be more rapidly added to; and 
authority is asked to appoint, for engineering duties 
only, approved graduates of engineering colleges, and 
for service in the aviation corps a certain niunber of 
men taken from civil life. 

If this full program should be carried out we 
should have built or building in 1921, according to the 
estimates of survival and standards of classification 
followed by the General Board of the Department, an 
effective navy consisting of twenty-seven battleships, of 
the first line, six battle cruisers, twenty-five battleships 
of the second line, ten armored cruisers, thirteen scout 
cruisers, five first class cruisers, three second class cruis- 
ers, ten third class cruisers, one hundred and eight 
destroyers, eighteen fleet submarines, one hundred and 
fifty-seven coast submarines, six monitors, twenty gun- 
l)oats, four supply ships, fifteen fuel ships, four trans- 
3)orts, three tenders to torpedo vessels, eight vessels of 
^cial types, and two ammunition ships. This would be 
a navy fitted to our needs and worthy of our traditions. 

But armies and instruments of war are only part 
of what has to be considered if we are to provide for 


the supreme matter of national self-sufficiency and se- 
curity in all its aspects. There are other great matters 
which will be thrust upon our attention whether we will 
or not. There is, for example, a very pressing question 
of trade and shipping involved in this great problem of 
national adequacy. It is necessary for many weighty 
reasons of national efficiency and development that we 
should have a great merchant marine. The great mer- 
chant fleet we once used to make us rich, that great body 
of sturdy sailors who used to carry our flag into every 
sea, and who were the pride and often the bulwark of 
the nation, we have almost driven out of existence by 
inexcusable neglect and indifference and by a hopelessly 
blind and provincial policy of so-called economic pro- 
tection. It is high time we repaired our mistake 
and resumed our commercial independence on the 

For it is a question of independence^ If other 
nations go to war or seek to hamper each other's 
commerce, our merchants, it seems, are at their mercy, 
to do with as they please. We must use their ships, 
and use them as they determine. We have not ships 
enough of our own. We cannot handle our own com- 
merce on the seas. Our independence is provincial, and 
is only on land and within our own borders. We are 
not likely to be permitted to use even the ships of other 
nations in rivalry of their own trade, and are without 
means to extend our commerce even where the doors 
are wide open and our goods desired. Such a situation 
is not to be endured. It is of capital importance not 
only that the United States should be its own carrier 


once; done to open routes and develop opportunities 
where they are as yet undeveloped; done to open the 
arteries of trade where the currents have not yet learned 
to run, — especially between the two American conti- 
nents, where they are, singularly enough, yet to be cre- 
ated and quickened; and it is evident that only the 
government can imdertake such beginnings and assume 
the initial financial risks. When the risk has passed 
and private capital begins to find its way in sufficient 
abimdance into these new channels, the government may 
withdraw. But it cannot omit to begin. It should take 
the first steps, and should take them at once. Our goods 
must not lie piled up at our ports and stored upon side 
tracks in freight cars which are daily needed on the 
roads; must not be left without means of transport to 
any foreign quarter. We must not await the permis- 
sion of foreign ship-owners and foreign governments to 
send them where we will. 

With a view to meeting these pressing necessities of 
our commerce and availing ourselves at the earliest pos- 
sible moment of the present imparalleled opportunity of 
linking the two Americas together in bonds of mutual 
interest and service, an opportunity which may never 
return again if we miss it now, proposals will be made 
to the present Congress for the purchase or construc- 
tion of ships to be owned and directed by the govern- 
ment similar to those made to the last Congress, but 
modified in some essential particulars. I recommend 
these proposals to you for your prompt acceptance with 
the more confidence because every month that has 
elapsed since the former proposals were made has made 


the necessity for such action more and more manifestly 
imperative. That need was then foreseen; it is now 
acutely felt and everywhere realized by those for whom 
trade is waiting but who can find no conveyance for 
their goods. I am not so much interested in the par- 
ticulars of the program as I am in taking immediate 
advantage of the great opportunity which awaits us 
if we will but act in this emergency. In this matter, 
as in all others, a spirit of common counsel should 
prevail, and out of it should come an early solution of 
this pressing problem. 

There is another matter which seems to me to be 
very intimately associated with the question of national 
safety and preparation for defense. That is our policy 
towards the Philippines and the people of Porto Rico. 
Our treatment of them and their attitude towards us are 
jcnanif estly of the first consequence in the development 
our duties in the world and in getting a f re^ hand 
perform those duties. We must be free from every 
xiBJxmecessary burden or embarrassment; and there is no 
tter way to be clear of embarrassment than to fulfill 
promises and promote the interests of those depend- 
t on us to the utmost. Bills for the alteration and 
form of the government of the Philippines and for 
ndering fuller political justice to the people of Porto 
CO were submitted to the sixty-third Congress. They 
be submitted also to you. I need not particularize 
€ir details. You are most of you already familiar with 
em. But I do recommend them to your early adop- 
with the sincere conviction that there are few 
^^^^casures you could adopt which would more serviceably 


clear the way for the great policies by which we wish 
to make good, now and always, our right to lead in 
enterprises of peace and good will and economic and 
political freedom. 

The plans for the armed forces of the nation which 
I have outlined, and for the general policy of adequate 
preparation for mobilization and defense, involve of 
course very large additional expenditures of money, — 
expenditures which will considerably exceed the esti- 
mated revenues of the government. It is made my duty 
by law, whenever the estimates of expenditure exceed 
the estimates of revenue, to call the attention of the 
Congress to the fact and suggest any means of meeting 
the deficiency that it may be wise or possible for me 
to suggest. I am ready to believe that it would be my 
duty to do so in any case ; and I feel particularly bound 
to speak of the matter when it appears that the defi- 
ciency will arise directly out of the adoption by the 
Congress of measures which I myself urge it to adopt. 
Allow me, therefore, to speak briefly of the present state 
of the Treasury and of the fiscal problems which the 
next year will probably disclose. 

On the thirtieth of June last there was an available 
balance in the general fund of the Treasury of $104,- 
170,105.78. The total estimated receipts for the year 
1916, on the assumption that the emergency revenue 
measure passed by the last Congress will not be ex- 
tended beyond its present limit, the thirty-first of z 
December, 1915, and that the present duty of one cent^ 
per pound on sugar will be discontinued after the firsts 
of May, 1916, will be $670,365,500. The balance o 


June last and these estimated revenues come, therefore, 
to a grand total of $774,535,605.78. The total estimated 
disbursements for the present fiscal year, including 
twenty-five millions for the Panama Canal, twelve mil- 
lions for probable deficiency appropriations, and fifty 
thousand dollars for miscellaneous debt redemptions, 
will be $753,891,000; and the balance in the general 
fund of the Treasury will be reduced to $20,644,605.78. 
The emergency revenue act, if continued beyond its 
present time limitation, would produce, during the half 
year then remaining, about forty-one millions. The 
duty of one cent per pound on sugar, if continued, would 
produce during the two months of the fiscal year remain- 
ing after the first of May, about fifteen millions. These 
two sums, amoimting together to fifty-six millions, if 
added to the revenues of the second half of the fiscal 
year, would yield the Treasury at the end of the year 
an available balance of $76,644,605.78. 

The additional revenues required to carry out the 
program of military and naval preparation of which 
I have spoken, would, as at present estimated, be for 
the fiscal year 1917, $93,800,000. Those figures, taken 
with the figures for the present fiscal year which I have 
already given, disclose our financial problem for the year 
1917. Assuming that the taxes imposed by the emer- 
gency revenue act and the present duty on sugar are 
to be discontinued, and that the balance at the close of 
the present fiscal year will be only $20,644,605.78, that 
the disbursements for the Panama Canal will again be 
about twenty-five millions, and that the additional ex- 
penditures for the army and navy are authorized by 


the Congress, the deficit in the general fund of the 
Treasury on the thirtieth of June, 1917, will be nearly 
two hundred and thirty-five millions. To this sum at 
least fifty millions should be added to represent a safe 
working balance for the Treasury, and twelve millions 
to include the usual deficiency estimates in 1917; and 
these additions would make a total deficit of some two 
hundred and ninety-seven millions. If the present taxes 
should be continued throughout this year and the next, 
however, there would be a balance in the Treasury of 
some seventy-six and a half millions at the end of the 
present fiscal year, and a deficit at the end of the next 
year of only some fifty millions, or, reckoning in sixty- 
two millions for deficiency appropriations and a safe 
Treasury balance at the end of the year, a total deficit 
of some one hundred and twelve millions. The obvious 
moral of the figures is that it is a plain counsel of 
prudence to continue all of the present taxes or their 
equivalents, and confine ourselves to the problem of 
providing one hundred and twelve millions of new rev- 
enue rather than two hundred and ninety-seven millions. 
How shall we obtain the new revenue? We are 
frequently reminded that there are many millions of 
bonds which the Treasury is authorized imder existing 
law to sell to reimburse the sums paid out of current 
revenues for the construction of the Panama Canal; 
and it is true that bonds to the amount of approxi- 
mately $222,000,000 are now available for that purpose. 
Prior to 1913, $134,631,980 of these bonds had actually 
been sold to recoup the expenditures at the Isthmus; 
and now constitute a considerable item of the public 


debt. But I, for one, do not believe that the people of 
this country approve of postponing the payment of their 
bills. Borrowing money is short-sighted finance. It can 
be justified only when permanent things are to be accom- 
plished which many generations will certainly benefit 
by and which it seems hardly fair that a single genera- 
tion should pay for. The objects we are now proposing 
to spend money for cannot be so classified, except in the 
sense that everything wisely done may be said to be 
done in the interest of posterity as well as in our own. 
It seems to me a clear dictate of prudent statesmanship 
and frank finance that in what we are now, I hope, 
about to undertake we should pay as we go. The people 
of the country are entitled to know just what burdens of 
taxation they are to carry, and to know from the out- 
set, now. The new bills should be paid by internal 

To what sources, then, shall we turn? This is so 
peculiarly a question which the gentlemen of the House 
of Bepresentatives are expected imder the Constitution 
to propose an answer to that you will hardly expect me 
to do more than discuss it in very general terms. We 
should be following an almost universal example of 
modem governments if we were to draw the greater 
part or even the whole of the revenues we need from 
the income taxes. By somewhat lowering the present 
limits of exemption and the figure at which the surtax 
shall begin to be imposed, and by increasing, step by 
step throughout the present graduation, the surtax 
itself, the income taxes as at present apportioned would 
yield sums suf&cient to balance the books of the Treasiuy 


at the end of the fiscal year 1917 without anywhere 
making the burden unreasonably or oppressively heavy. 
The precise reckonings are fully and accurately set out 
in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury which 
will be immediately laid before you. 

And there are many additional sources of revenue 
which can justly be resorted to without hampering the 
industries of the country or putting any too great charge 
upon individual expenditure. A tax of one cent per 
gallon on gasoline and naphtha would yield, at the 
present estimated production, $10,000,000 ; a tax of fifty 
cents per horse power on automobiles and internal ex- 
plosion engines, $15,000,000; a stamp tax on bank 
cheques, probably $18,000,000 ; a tax of twenty-five cents 
per ton on pig iron, $10,000,000; a tax of twenty-five 
cents per ton on fabricated iron and steel, probably 
$10,000,000. In a country of great industries like this 
it ought to be easy to distribute the burdens of taxa- 
tion without making them anywhere bear too heavily 
or too exclusively upon any one set of persons or under- 
takings. What is clear is, that the industry of this gen- 
eration should pay the bills of this generation. 

I have spoken to you to-day, gentlemen, upon a sin- 
gle theme, the thorough preparation of the nation to 
care for its own security and to make sure of entire 
freedom to play the impartial role in this hemisphere 
and in the world which we all believe to have been provi- 
dentially assigned to it. I have had in my mind no 
thought of any immediate or particular danger arising 
out of our relations with other nations. We are at 
peace with all the nations of the world, and there is 


reaBon to hope that no question in controversy between 
this and other Governments will lead to any serious 
breach of amicable relations, grave as some differences 
of attitude and policy have been and may yet turn out 
to be. I am sorry to say that the gravest threats against 
our national peace and safety have been uttered within 
our own borders. There are citizens of the United 
States, I blush to admit, bom imder other flags but wel- 
comed under our generous naturalization laws to the 
full freedom and opportunity of America, who have 
poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries 
of our national life; who have sought to bring the 
authority and good name of our Government into con- 
tempt, to destroy our industries wherever they thought 
it effective for their vindictive purposes to strike at 
them, and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign 
intrigue. Their number is not great as compared with 
the whole number of those sturdy hosts by which our 
nation has been enriched in recent generations out of 
Tirile foreign stocks; but it is great enough to have 
brought deep disgrace upon us and to have made it 
necessary that we should promptly make use of processes 
of law by which we may be purged of their corrupt dis- 
temi>ers. America never witnessed anything like this 
before. It never dreamed it possible that men sworn 
into its own citizenship, men drawn out of great free 
stocks such as supplied some of the best and strongest 
elements of that little, but how heroic, nation that in a 
high day of old staked its very life to free itself from 
every entanglement that had darkened the fortunes of 
the older nations and set up a new standard here, — ^that 


men of such origins and such free choices of allegiance 
would ever turn in malign reaction against the Govern- 
ment and people who had welcomed and nurtured them 
and seek to make this proud country once more a hot- 
bed of European passion. A little while ago such a 
thing would have seemed incredible. Because it was 
incredible we made no preparation for it. We would 
have been almost ashamed to prepare for it, as if we 
were suspicious of ourselves, our own comrades and 
neighbors! But the ugly and incredible thing has actu- 
ally come about and we are without adequate federal 
laws to deal with it. I urge you to enact such laws at 
the earliest possible moment and feel that in doing so 
I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor 
and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of pas- 
sion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out. They 
are not many, but they are infinitely malignant, and the 
hand of our power should close over them at once. They 
have formed plots to destroy property, they have entered 
into conspiracies against the neutrality of the Govern- 
ment, they have sought to pry into every confidential 
transaction of the Government in order to serve interests 
alien to our own. It is possible to deal with these things 
very effectually. I need not suggest the terms in which 
they may be dealt with. 

I wish that it could be said that only a few men, 
misled by mistaken sentiments of allegiance to the gov- 
ernments under which they were bom, had been guilty 
of disturbing the self-possession and misrepresenting 
the temper and principles of the country during these 
days of terrible war, when it would seem that every man 


who was truly an American would instinctively make it 
his duty and his pride to keep the scales of judgment 
even and prove himself a partisan of no nation but 
his own. But it cannot. There are some men among 
us, and many resident abroad who, though born and 
bred in the United States and calling themselves Ameri- 
cans, have so forgotten themselves and their honor as 
citizens as to put their passionate sympathy with one 
or the other side in the great European conflict above 
their regard for the peace and dignity of the United 
States. They also preach and practice disloyalty. No 
laws, I suppose, can reach corruptions of the mind and 
heart; but I should not speak of others without also 
speaking of these and expressing the even deeper humili- 
ation and scorn which every self-possessed and thought- 
fully patriotic American must feel when he thinks of 
them and of the discredit they are daily bringing 
upon us. 

While we speak of the preparation of the nation to 
make sure of her security and her effective power we 
must not fall into the patent error of supposing that her 
real strength comes from armaments and mere safe- 
guards of written law. It comes, of course, from her 
people, their energy, their success in their undertakings^ 
their free opportunity to use the natural resources of 
our great home land and of the lands outside our con- 
tinental borders which look to us for protection, for 
encouragement, and for assistance in their development ; 
from the organization and freedom and vitality of our 
economic life. The domestic questions which engaged 
the attention of the last Congress are more vital to the 


nation in this its time of test than at any other time. 
We cannot adequately make ready for any trial of our 
strength unless we wisely and promptly direct the force 
of our laws into these all-important fields of domestic 
action. A matter which it seems to me we should have 
very much at heart is the creation of the right instru- 
mentalities by which to mobilize our economic resources 
in any time of national necessity. I take it for granted 
that I do not need your authority to call into systematic 
consultation with the directing officers of the army and 
navy men of recognized leadership and ability from 
among our citizens who are thoroughly familiar, for 
example, with the transportation facilities of the coun- 
try and therefore competent to advise how they may be 
co-ordinated when the need arises, those who can sug- 
gest the best way in which to bring about prompt co- 
operation among the manufacturers of the coimtry, 
should it be necessary, and those who could assist to 
bring the technical skill of the coimtry to the aid of the 
Government in the solution of particular problems of 
defense. I only hope that if I should find it feasible 
to constitute such an advisory body the Congress would 
be willing to vote the small sum of money that would 
be needed to defray the expenses that would probably be 
necessary to give it the clerical and administrative ma- 
chinery with which to do serviceable work. 

What is more important is, that the industries and 
resources of the country should be available and ready 
for mobilization. It is the more imperatively necessary, 
therefore, that we should promptly devise means for 
doing what we have not yet done: that we should give 


intelligent federal aid and stimulation to industrial and 
vocational education, as we have long done in the large 
field of our agricultural industry ; that, at the same tune 
that we safeguard and conserve the natural resources 
of the coimtry we should put them at the disposal of 
those who will use them promptly and intelligently, as 
was sought to be done in the admirable bills submitted 
to the last Congress from its committees on the public 
lands, bills which I earnestly recommend in principle 
to your consideration; that we should put into early 
operation some provision for rural credits which will 
add to the extensive borrowing facilities already afforded 
the farmer by the Beserve Bank Act adequate instru- 
mentalities by which long credits may be obtained on 
land mortgages; and that we should study more care* 
fully than they have hitherto been studied the right 
adaptation of our economic arrangements to changing 

Many conditions about which we have repeatedly 
legislated are being altered from decade to decade, it 
is evident, imder our very eyes, and are likely to change 
even more rapidly and more radically in the days imme- 
diately ahead of us, when peace has returned to the 
world and the nations of Europe once more take up 
their tasks of commerce and industry with the energy 
of those who must bestir themselves to build anew. 
Just what these changes will be no one can certainly 
foresee or confidently predict. There are no calculable, 
because no stable, elements in the problem. The most 
we can do is to make certain that we have the necessary 
instrumentalities of information constantly at our serv- 


ice so that we may be sure that we know exactly what 
we are dealing with when we come to act, if it should 
be necessary to act at all. We must first certainly know 
what it is that we are seeking to adapt ourselves to. 
I may ask the privilege of addressing you more at 
length on this important matter a little later in your 

In the meantime may I make this suggestion? The 
transportation problem is an exceedingly serious and 
pressing one in this country. There has from time to 
time of late been reason to fear that our railroads would 
not much longer be able to cope with it successfully, as 
at present equipped and co-ordinated. I suggest that 
it would be wise to provide for a commission of inquiry 
to ascertain by a thorough canvass of the whole ques- 
tion whether our laws as at present framed and admin- 
istered are as serviceable as they might be in the solu- 
tion of the problem. It is obviously a problem that 
lies at the very foundation of our efficiency as a people. 
Such an inquiry ought to draw out every circumstance 
and opinion worth considering and we need to know 
all sides of the matter if we mean to do anything in 
the field of federal legislation. 

No one, I am sure, would wish to take any backward 
step. The regulation of the railways of the country 
by federal commission has had admirable results and 
has fully justified the hopes and expectations of those 
by whom the policy of regulation was originally pro- 
posed. The question is not what should we undo ? It is, 
whether there is anything else we can do that would 
supply us with effective means, in the very process of 


regulation, for bettering the conditions under which the 
railroads are operated and for making them more useful 
servants of the country as a whole. It seems to me 
that it might be the part of wisdom, therefore, before 
further legislation in this field is attempted, to look at 
the whole problem of co-ordination and efficiency in the 
full light of a fresh assessment of circumstance and 
opinion, as a guide to dealing with the several parts of it. 
For what we are seeking now, what in my mind is 
the single thought of this message, is national efficiency 
and security. We serve a great nation. We should 
serve it in the spirit of its peculiar genius. It is the 
genius of common men for self-government, industry, 
justice, liberty, and peace. We should see to it that it 
lacks no instrument, no facility or vigor of law, to make 
it sufficient to play its part with energy, safety, and 
assured success. In this we are no partisans but heralds 
and prophets of a new age. 


JANUARY 6, 1916 

The Second Pan American Scientific Congress met in the City of Washington, 
December 27, lOlS-January 8, 1916, and was composed of official and scientific 
representatives from all of the American Republics. The First Congress had met 
at Santiago, Chile, December 25, lOOS-January 5, 1909, and a resolution was 
adopted then and there that the Second should convene in Washington as the 
guest of the United States. The Congress was divided into nine sections dealing 
with Anthropology (Section I), Astronomy, Meteorology, and Seismology (Sec- 
tion II), Conservation of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Irrigation, and For- 
estry (Section III), Education (Section IV), Engineering (Section V), Inter- 
national Law, Public Law, and Jurisprudence (Section VI), Mining, Metal- 
lurgy, Economic Geology, and Applied Chemistry (Section VII), Public Health 
and Medical Science (Section VIII), and Transportation, Conunerce, Finance, 
and Taxation (Section IX). The subject-matter of the various divisions waa 
discussed in conference, and the resolutions adopted by the Congress embodied 
in a Final Act, which, accompanied by an interpretative commentary, waa 
issued in the United States in 1916. 

Mr. Ambassador, Ladies, and Gentlemen: 

It was a matter of sincere regret with me that I 
was not in the city to extend the greetings of the Gov- 
ernment to this distinguished body, and I am very 
happy that I have returned in time at least to extend 
to it my felicitations upon the unusual interest and 
success of its proceedings. I wish that it might have 
been my good f ortime to be present at the sessions and 
instructed by the papers that were read. I have some- 
what become inured to scientific papers in the course 
of a long experience, but I have never ceased to be 
instructed and to enjoy them. 

The sessions of this congress have been looked for- 
ward to with the greatest interest throughout this coim- 



try, because there is no more certain evidence of intel- 
lectual life than the desire of men of all nations to share 
their thoughts with one another. 

I have been told so much about the proceedings of 
this congress that I feel that I can congratulate you 
upon the increasing sense of comradeship and intimate 
intercourse which has marked its sessions from day to 
day; and it is a very happy circumstance in our view 
that this, perhaps the most vital and successful of the 
meetings of this congress, should have occurred in the 
Capital of our own country, because we should wish to 
regard this as the universal place where ideas worth 
while are exchanged and shared. The drawing together 
of the Americas, ladies and gentlemen, has long been 
dreamed of and desired. It is a matter of peculiar 
gratification, therefore, to see this great thing happen; 
to see the Americas drawing together, and not drawing 
together upon any insubstantial foundation of mere 

After all, even friendship must be based upon a per- 
ception of common sympathies, of common interests, of 
common ideals, and of common purposes. Men cannot 
be £riends unless they intend the same things, and the 
Americas have more and more realized that in all essen- 
tial particulars they intend the same thing with regard 
to their thought and their life and their activities. To be 
privileged, therefore, to see this drawing together in 
friendship and communion based upon these solid foun- 
dations affords everyone who looks on with open eyes 
peculiar satisfaction and joy; and it has seemed to me 
that the language of science, the language of impersonal 


thought, the language of those who think, not along the 
lines of individual interest but along what are intended 
to be the direct and searching lines of truth itself, was 
a very fortunate language in which to express this com- 
munity of interest and of sympathy. Science affords 
an international language just as commerce also affords 
a universal language, because in each instance there is 
a universal purpose, a universal general plan of action, 
and it is a pleasing thought to those who have had 
something to do with scholarship that scholars have had 
a great deal to do with sowing the seeds of friendship 
between nation and nation. Truth recognizes no national 
boundaries. Truth permits no racial prejudices; and 
when men come to know each other and to recognize 
equal intellectual strength and equal intellectual sin- 
cerity and a common intellectual purpose some of the 
best f oimdations of friendship are already laid. 

But, ladies and gentlemen, our thought cannot pause 
at the artificial boundaries of the fields of science and 
of commerce. All boimdaries that divide life into sec- 
tions and interests are artificial, because life is all of a 
piece. You cannot treat part of it without by implica- 
tion and indirection treating all of it, and the field of 
science is not to be distinguished from the field of life 
any more than the field of commerce is to be distin- 
guished from the general field of life. No one who 
reflects upon the progress of science or the spread of 
the arts of peace or the extension and perfection of any 
of the practical arts of life can fail to see that there is 
only one atmosphere that these things can breathe, and 
that is an atmosphere of mutual confidence and of peace 


and of ordered political life among the nations. Amidst 
war and revolution even the voice of science must for 
the most part be silent, and revolution tears up the very 
roots of everything that makes life go steadily forward 
and the light grow from generation to generation. For 
nothing stirs passion like political disturbance, and pas- 
sion is the enemy of truth. 

These things were realized with peculiar vividness 
and said with unusual eloquence in a recent confer- 
ence held in this city for the purpose of considering 
the financial relations between the two continents of 
America, because it was perceived that financiers can 
do nothing without the co-operation of governments, 
and that if merchants would deal with one another, 
laws must agree with one another — ^that you cannot 
make laws vary without making them contradict, and 
that amidst contradictory laws the easy flow of com- 
mercial intercourse is impossible, and that, therefore, 
a financial congress naturally led to all the inferences 
of politics. For politics I conceive to be nothing more 
than the science of the ordered progress of society 
along the lines of greatest usefulness and convenience 
to itself. I have never in my own mind admitted the 
distinction between the other departments of life and 
politics. Some people devote themselves so exclusively 
to politics that they forget there is any other part of 
life, and so soon as they do they become that thing 
which is described as a **mere politician.** Statesman- 
ship begins where these connections so unhappily lost 
are re-established. The statesman stands in the midst 
of life to interpret life in political action. 


The conference to which I have referred marked 
the consciousness of the two AmericaB that economi- 
cally they are very dependent upon one another, that 
they have a great deal that it is very desirable they 
should exchange and share with one another, that they 
have kept unnaturally and unfortunately separated and 
apart when they had a manifest and obvious community 
of interest; and the object of that conference was to 
ascertain the practical means by which the commercial 
and practical intercourse of the two continents could 
be quickened and facilitated. And where events move 
statesmen, if they be not indifferent or be not asleep, 
must think and act. 

For my own part I congratulate myself upon living 
in a time when these things, always susceptible of 
intellectual demonstration, have begun to be very widely 
and universally appreciated and when the statesmen of 
the two American continents have more and more come 
into candid, trustful, mutual conference, comparing 
views as to the practical and friendly way of helping 
one another and of setting forward every handsome 
enterprise on this side of the Atlantic. 

But these gentlemen have not conferred without 
realizing that back of all the material community of 
interest of which I have spoken there lies and must lie 
a community of political interest. I have been told a 
very interesting fact — ^I hope it is true — ^that while this 
Congress has been discussing science it has been in 
spite of itself led into the feeling that behind the science 
there was some inference with regard to politics, and 
that if the Americas were to be united in thought they 


must in some degree sympathetically be united in action. 
But these statesmen who have been conferring from 
month to month in Washington have come to realize 
that back of the commimity of material interest there 
is a community of political interest. 

I hope I can make clear to you in what sense I use 
these words. I do not mean a mere partnership in the 
things that are expedient. I mean what I was trying 
to indicate a few moments ago, that you cannot separate 
politics from these things, that you cannot have real 
intercourse of any kind amidst political jealousies, which 
is only another way of saying that you cannot commune 
unless you are friends, and that friendship is based 
upon your political relations with each other perhaps 
more than upon any other kind of relationship between 
nations. If nations are politically suspicious of one 
another, all their intercourse is embarrassed. That is 
the reason, I take it, if it be true, as I hope it is, that 
your thoughts even during this Congress, though the 
questions you are called upon to consider are appar- 
ently so foreign to politics, have again and again been 
drawn back to the political inferences. The object of 
American statesmanship on the two continents is to 
see to it that American friendship is founded on a 

The Monroe doctrine was proclaimed by the United 
States on her own authority. It always has been main- 
tained, and always will be maintained, upon her own 
responsibility. But the Monroe doctrine demanded 
merely that European Governments should not attempt 
to extend their political systems to this side of the 


Atlantic. It did not disclose the use which the United 
States intended to make of her power on this side of 
the Atlantic. It was a hand held up in warning, but 
there was no promise in it of what America was going to 
do with the implied and partial protectorate which she 
apparently was trying to set up on this side of the 
water; and I believe you will sustain me in the state- 
ment that it has been fears and suspicions on this score 
which have hitherto prevented the greater intimacy and 
confidence and trust between the Americas. The States 
of America have not been certain what the United 
States would do with her power. That doubt must be 
removed. And latterly there has been a very frank 
interchange of views between the authorities in Wash- 
ington and those who represented the other States of 
this hemisphere, an interchange of views charming and 
hopeful, because based upon an increasingly sure appre- 
ciation of the spirit in which they were undertaken. 
These gentlemen have seen that if America is to 
come into her own, into her legitimate own, in a 
world of peace and order, she must establish the foun- 
dations of amity so that no one will hereafter doubt 

I hope and I believe that this can be accomplished. 
These conferences have enabled me to foresee how it 
will be accomplished. It will be accomplished in the 
first place by the States of America uniting in guar- 
anteeing to each other absolutely political independence 
and territorial integrity. In the second place, and as 
a necessary corollary to that, guaranteeing the agree- 
ment to settle all pending boundary disputes as soon 


as possible and by amicable process ; by agreeing that all 
disputes among themselves, should they unhappily arise, 
will be handled by patient, impartial investigation, and 
settled by arbitration; and the agreement necessary to 
the peace of the Americas, that no State of either con- 
tinent will permit revolutionary expeditions against 
another State to be fitted out on its territory, and that 
they will prohibit the exportation of the munitions of 
war for the purpose of supplying revolutionists against 
neighboring governments. 

Tou see what our thought is, gentlemen, not only 
the international peace of America but the domestic 
peace of America. If American States are constantly 
in ferment, if any of them are constantly in ferment, 
there will be a standing threat to their relations with 
one another. It is just as much to our interest to assist 
each other to the orderly processes within our own 
borders as it is to orderly processes in our controver- 
sies with one another. These are very practical sugges- 
tions which have sprung up in the minds of thoughtful 
men, and I, for my part, believe that they are going to 
lead the way to something that America has prayed for 
for many a generation. For they are based, in the first 
place, so far as the stronger States are concerned, upon 
the handsome principle of self-restraint and respect for 
the rights of everybody. They are based upon the prin- 
ciples of absolute political equality among the States, 
equality of right, not equality of indulgence. They are 
based, in short, upon the solid eternal foundations of 
justice and humanity. No man can turn away from 
these things without turning away from the hope of 


the world. These are things, ladies and gentlemen, for 
which the world has hoped and waited with prayerful 
heart. God grant that it may be granted to America 
to lift this light on high for the illumination of the 




OHIO, JANUARY 29, 1916 

Mr. President and Fellow Citizens: 

I esteein it a real privilege to be in Cleveland again 
and to address you upon the serious questions of public 
policy which now confront us. I have not given my- 
self this sort of pleasure very often since I have been 
President, for I hope that you have observed what 
my conception of the office of President is. I do not 
believe that, ordinarily speaking, it is a speech-making 
office. I have found the exactions of it such that it 
was absolutely necessary for me to remain constantly 
in touch with the daily changes of public business, 
and you so arranged it that I should be President at 
a time when there was a great deal of public business 
to remain in touch with. But the times are such, 
gentlemen, that it is necessary that we should take 
common counsel together regarding them. 

I suppose that this country has never foimd itself 
before in so singular a position. The present situa- 
tion of the world would, only a twelvemonth ago, even 
after the European war had started, have seemed in- 
credible, and yet now the things that no man antici- 
pated have happened. The titanic struggle continues. 
The difficulties of the world *s affairs accumulate. It 



was, of course, evident that this was taking place long 
before the present session of Congress assembled, but 
only since the Congress assembled has it been possible 
to consider what we ought to do in the new circum- 
stances of the times. Congress can not know what to 
do unless the Nation knows what to do, and it seemed 
to me not only my privilege but my duty to go out 
and inform my fellow countrymen just what I under- 
stood the present situation to be. 

What are the elements of the case? In the first 
place, and most obviously, two-thirds of the world are 
at war. It is not merely a European struggle; nations 
in the Orient have become involved, as well as nations 
in the west, and everywhere there seems to be creeping 
even upon the nations disengaged the spirit and the 
threat of war. All the world outside of America is 
on fire. 

Do you wonder that men's imaginations take color 
from the situation? Do you wonder that there is a 
great reaction against war? Do you wonder that the 
passion for peace grows stronger as the spectacle grows 
more tremendous and more overwhelming? Do you 
wonder, on the other hand, that men's sympathies be- 
come deeply engaged on the one side or the other? 
For no small things are happening. This is a struggle 
which will determine the history of the world, I dare 
say, for more than a century to come. The world will 
never be the same again after this war is over. The 
change may be for weal or it may be for woe, but it 
will be fimdamental and tremendous. 

And in the meantime we, the people of the United 


States, are the one great disengaged power, the one 
neutral power, finding it exceedingly difficult to be 
neutral, because, like men everywhere else, we are 
human; we have the deep passions of mankind in us; 
we have sympathies that are as easily stirred as the 
sympathies of any other people ; we have interests which 
we see being drawn slowly into the maelstrom of this 
tremendous upheaval. It is very difficult for us to hold 
off and look with cool judgment upon such stupendous 

And yet we have held off. It has not been easy 
for the Government at Washington to avoid the en- 
tanglements which seemed to beset it on every side. 
It has needed a great deal of watchfulness and an 
unremitting patience to do so, but all the while no 
American could fail to be aware that America did not 
wish to become engaged, that she wished to hold apart ; 
not because she did not perceive the issues of the 
struggle, but because she thought her duties to be the 
duties of peace and of separate action. And all the 
while the nations themselves that were engaged seemed 
to be looking to us for some sort of action, not hostile 
in character but sympathetic in character. Hardly a 
single thing has occurred in Europe which has in any 
degree shocked the sensibilities of mankind that the 
Government of the United States has not been called 
upon by the one side or the other to protest and inter- 
vene with its moral influence, if not with its physical 
force. It is as if we were the great audience before 
whom this stupendous drama is being played out, and 
we are asked to comment upon the turns and crises 


of the plot. And not only are we the audience, and 
challenged to be the umpire so far as the opinion of 
the world is concerned, but all the while our own life 
touches these matters at many points of vital contact. 

The United States is trying to keep up the processes 
of peaceful commerce while all the world is at war 
and while all the world is in need of the essential 
things which the United States produces, and yet by 
an oversight for which it is difficult to forgive our- 
selves we did not provide ourselves when there was 
proper peace and opportunity with a mercantile marine, 
by means of which we could carry the commerce of 
the world without the interference of the motives of 
other nations which might be engaged in controversy 
not our own; and so the carrying trade of the world 
is for the iftpst part in the hands of the nations now 
embroiled in this great struggle. Americans have gone 
to all quarters of the world, Americans are serving 
the business of the world in every part of it, and every 
one of these men when his affairs touch the regions 
that are on fire is our ward, and we must see to his 
rights and that they are respected. Do you not see 
how all the sensitive places of our life touch these 
great disturbances? 

Now in the midst of all this, what is it that we 
are called on to do as a nation? I suppose that from 
the first America has had one peculiar and particular 
mission in the world. Other nations have grown rich, 
my fellow citizens, other nations have been as powerful 
as we in material resources in comparison with the 
other nations of the world, other nations have built up 


empires and exercised dominion; we are not peculiar 
in any of these things, but we are peculiar in this, 
that from the first we have dedicated our force to the 
service of justice and righteousness and peace. We 
have said, **Our chief interest is not in the rights of 
property but in the rights of men; our chief interest 
is in the spirits of men that they might be free, that 
they might enjoy their lives unmolested so long as 
they observed the just rules of the game, that they 
might deal with their fellow-men with their heads 
erect, the subjects and servants of no man ; the servants 
only of the principles upon which their lives rested.'' 
And America has done more than care for her own 
people and think of her own fortimes in these great 
matters. She has said ever since the time of President 
Monroe that she was the champion of the freedom and 
the separate sovereignty of peoples throughout the 
Western Hemisphere. She is trustee for these ideals 
and she is pledged, deeply and permanently pledged, 
to keep these momentous promises. 

She not only, therefore, must play her part in 
keeping this conflagration from spreading to the people 
of the United States; she must also keep this con- 
flagration from spreading on this side of the sea. 
These are matters in which our very life and our 
whole pride are embedded and rooted, and we can 
never draw back from them. And I, my fellow citi- 
zens, because of the extraordinary office with which 
you have intrusted me, must, whether I will or not, 
be your responsible spokesman in these great matters. 
It is my duty, therefore, when impressions are deeply 


borne in upon me with regard to the national welfare 
to speak to you with the utmost frankness about them, 
and that is the errand upon which I have come away 
from Washington. 

For my own part, I am sorry that these things fall 
within the year of a national political campaign. They 
ought to have nothing whatever to do with politics. 
The man who brings partisan feeling into these matters 
and seeks partisan advantage by means of them is 
imworthy of your confidence. I am sorry that upon 
the eve of a campaign we should be obliged to discuss 
these things, for fear they might run over into the 
campaign and seem to constitute a part of it. Let us 
forget that this is a year of national elections. That 
is neither here nor there. The thing to do now is for 
all men of all parties to think along the same lines 
and do the same things and forget every difference 
that may have divided them. 

And what ought they to do? In the first place, 
they ought to tell the truth. There have been some 
extraordinary exaggerations both of the military weak- 
ness and the military strength of this country. Some 
men tell you that we have no means of defense and 
others tell you that we have sufficient means of defense, 
and neither statement is true. Take, for example, the 
matter of our coast defenses. It is obvious to every 
man that they are of the most vital importance to 
the country. Such coast defenses as we have are strong 
and admirable, but we have not got coast defenses 
in enough places. Their quality is admirable, but their 
quantity is insufficient. The military authorities of 


tMs country have not been negligent ; they have sought 
adequate appropriations from Congress, and in most 
instances have obtained them, so far as we saw the 
work in hand that it was necessary to do, and the 
work that they have done in the use of these appropria- 
tions has been admirable and skillful work. Do not 
let anybody deceive you into supposing that the Army 
of the United States, so far as it has had opportunity, 
is in any degree imworthy of your confidence. 

And the Navy of the United States. You have 
been told that it is the second in strength in the world. 
I am sorry to say that experts do not agree with those 
who tell you that. Beckoning by its actual strength, 
I believe it to be one of the most efficient navies in 
the world, but in strength it ranks fourth, not second. 
You must reckon with the fact that it is necessary 
that that should be our first arm of defense, and you 
ought to insist that everything should be done that 
it is possible for us to do to bring the Navy up to an 
adequate standard of strength and efficiency. 

Where we are chiefly lacking in preparation is on 
land and in the number of men who are ready to fight. 
Not the number of fighting men, but the number of 
men who are ready to fight. Some men are bom 
troublesome, some men have trouble thrust upon them, 
and other men acquire trouble. I think I belong to 
the second class. But the characteristic desire of 
America is not that she should have a great body of 
men whose chief business is to fight, but a great body 
of men who know how to fight and are ready to fight 
when anything that is dear to the Nation is threatened. 


You might have what we have, millions of men who 
had never handled arms of war, who are mere material 
for shot and powder if you put them in the field, and 
America would be ashamed of the inefficiency of calling 
such men to defend the Nation. What we want is to 
associate in training with the Army of the United 
States men who will volunteer for a sufficient length 
of time every year to get a rudimentary acquaintance 
with arms, a rudimentary skill in handling them, a 
rudimentary acquaintance with camp life, a rudi- 
mentary acquaintance with military drill and discipline ; 
and we ought to see to it that we have men of that 
sort in sufficient number to constitute an initial 
army when we need an army for the defense of the 

I have heard it stated that there are probably sev- 
eral million men in this country who have received 
a sufficient amount of military drill either here or in 
the countries in which they were bom and from which 
they have come to us. Perhaps there are, nobody 
knows, because there is no means of counting them; 
but if there are so many, they are not obliged to come 
at our call ; we do not know who they are. That is not 
military preparation. Military preparation consists in 
the existence of such a body of men known to the 
Federal authorities, organized provisionally by the Fed- 
eral authorities, and subject by their own choice and 
will to the immediate call of the Federal authorities. 

We have no such body of men in the United States 
except the National Guard. Now, I have a very great 
respect for the National Guard. I have been asso- 


ciated with one section of that guard in one of the 
great States of the Union, and I know the character 
of the ofl&cers and the quality of the men, and I would 
trust them unhesitatingly both for skill and for effi- 
ciency, but the whole National Guard of the United 
States falls short of 130,000 men. It is characterized 
by a very great variety of discipline and efficiency as 
between State and State, and it is by the Constitution 
itself put under authority of more than two score 
State executives. The President of the United States 
has not the right to call on these men except in the 
case of actual invasion, and, therefore, no matter how 
skillful they are, no matter how ready they are, they 
are not the instruments for immediate National use. 
I believe that the Congress of the United States ought 
to do, and that it will do, a great deal more for the 
National Guard than it ever has done, and everything 
ought to be done to make it a model military arm. 

But that is not the arm that we are immediately 
interested in. We are interested in making certain 
that there are men all over the United States prepared, 
equipped, and ready to go out at the call of the National 
Government upon the shortest possible notice. You 
will ask me, **Why do you say the shortest possible 
notice?'' Because, gentlemen, let me tell you very 
solemnly you can not afford to postpone this thing. 
I do not know what a single day may bring forth. 
I do not wish to leave you with the impression that I 
am thinking of some particular danger ; I merely want 
to leave you with this solemn impression, that I know 
that we are daily treading amidst the most intricate 


dangers, and that the dangers that we are treading 
amongst are not of our making and are not under our 
control, and that no man in the United States knows 
what a single week or a single day or a single hour 
may bring forth. These are solemn things to say to 
you but I would be unworthy of my office if I did not 
come out and tell you with absolute frankness just 
exactly what I understand the situation to be. 

I do not wish to hurry the Congress of the United 
States, These things are too important to be put 
through without very thorough sifting and debate and 
I am not in the least jealous of any of the searching 
processes of discussion. That is what free people are 
for, to understand what they are about and to do what 
they wish to do only if they understand what they are 
about. But it is impossible to discuss the details of 
plans in great bodies, unorganized bodies, of men like 
this audience, for example. All that I can do in this 
presence is to tell you what I know of the necessities 
of the case, and to ask you to stand back of the execu- 
tive authorities of the United States in urging upon 
those who make our laws as early and effective action 
as possible. 

America is not afraid of anybody, I know that I 
express your feeling and the feeling of all our fellow 
citizens when I say that the only thing I am afraid of 
is not being ready to perform my duty. I am afraid 
of the danger of shame; I am afraid of the danger 
of inadequacy; I am afraid of the danger of not 
being able to express the great character of this 
country with tremendous might and effectiveness when- 


ever we are called upon to act in the field of the 
world's affairs. 

For it is character we are going to express, not 
power merely. The United States is not in love with 
the aggressive use of power. It despises the aggressive 
use of power. There is not a foot of territory belong- 
ing to any other nation which this Nation covets or 
desires. There is not a privilege which we ourselves 
enjoy that we would dream of denying any other na- 
tion in the world. If there is one thing that the 
American people love and believe in more than another 
it is peace and all the handsome things that belong to 
peace. I hope that you will bear me out in saying 
that I have proved that I am a partisan of peace. 
I would be ashamed to be belligerent and impatient 
when the fortunes of my whole country and the happi- 
ness of all my fellow countrymen were involved. But 
I know that peace is not always within the choice of 
the Nation, and I want to remind you, and remind 
you very solemnly, of the double obligation you have 
laid upon me. I know you have laid it upon me be- 
cause I am constantly reminded of it in conversation, 
by letter, in editorial, by means of every voice that 
comes to me out of the body of the Nation. You have 
laid upon me this double obligation: **We are relying 
upon you, Mr. President, to keep us out of this war, 
but we are relying upon you, Mr. President, to keep 
the honor of the Nation unstained.'' 

Do you not see that a time may come when it is 
impossible to do both of these things? Do you not 
see that if I am to guard the honor of the Nation, 


I am not protecting it against itself, for we are not 
going to do anything to stain the honor of our own 
country. I am protecting it against things that I can 
not control, the action of others. And where the action 
of others may bring us I can not foretell. You may 
count upon my heart and resolution to keep you out 
of the war, but you must be ready if it is necessary 
that I should maintain your honor. That is the only 
thing a real man loves about himself. Some men who 
are not real men love other things about themselves, 
but the real man believes that his honor is dearer 
than his life; and a nation is merely all of us put 
together, and the Nation's honor is dearer than the 
Nation's comfort and the Nation's peace and the Na- 
tion's life itself. So that we must know what we have 
thrown into the balance; we must know the infinite 
issues which are impending every day of the year, and 
when we go to bed at night and when we rise in the 
morning, and at every interval of the rush of business, 
we must remind ourselves that we are part of a great 
body politic in which are vested some of the highest 
hopes of the human race. 

Why is it that all nations turn to us with the in- 
stinctive feeling that if anything touches humanity it 
touches us? Because it knows that ever since we were 
bom as a Nation we have undertaken to be the cham- 
pions of humanity and of the rights of men. Without 
that ideal there would be nothing that would distinguish 
America from her predecessors in the history of nations. 
Why is it that men who loved liberty have crowded to 
these shores? Why is it that we greet them as they 


enter the great harbor at New York with that majestic 
Statue of Liberty holding up a torch whose visionary 
beams are meant to spread abroad over the waters of 
the world, and to say to all men, **Come to America 
where mankind is free and where we love all the works 
of righteousness and of peace." 



The right of AmericanB to travel upon British passenger steamers going 
to and f ron* Europe was admitted by the authorities and people of the United 
States, but the expediency of the exercise of the right was doubted by some 
in view of the danger to which ships were exposed in that part of the high seas 
surrounding Grieat Britain which Germany, on February 4, 1915, had declared 
to be a war zone, and the waters of which were infested with its submarines 
attacking indiscriminately enemy or neutral ships, or enemy ships with neutral 
persons and cargo aboard. Senator William J. Stone, Chairman of the Senate 
Committee on Foreign Affairs, addressed a letter to the President on thia 
subject dated February 24, 1916. In reply to this communication. President 
Wilson wrote the following letter. 

My deab Senator: 

I very warmly appreciate your kind and frank letter 
of to-day, and feel that it calls for an equally frank 
Yon are right in assuming that I shall do everything 
in my power to keep the United States out of war, I 
think the country will feel no uneasiness about my 
course in that respect. Through many anxious months 
I have striven for that object, amid difficulties more 
manifold than can have been apparent upon the sur- 
face, and so far I have succeeded, I do not doubt that 
I shall continue to succeed. The course which the Cen- 
tral European powers have announced their intention 
of following in the future with regard to undersea war- 
fare seems for the moment to threaten insuperable ob- 
stacles, but its apparent meaning is so manifestly incon- 



sistent with explicit assurances recently given ns by 
those powers with regard to their treatment of mer- 
chant vessels on the high seas that I must believe that 
explanations will presently ensue which will put a dif- 
ferent aspect upon it. We have had no reason to ques- 
tion their good faith or their fidelity to their promises 
in the past, and I for one feel confident that we shall 
have none in the future. 

But in any event our duty is clear. No nation, no 
group of nations, has the right, while war is in progress, 
to alter or disregard the principles which all nations 
have agreed upon in mitigation of the horrors and suf- 
ferings of war ; and if the clear rights of American citi- 
zens should very unhappily be abridged or denied by 
any such action, we should, it seems to me, have in 
honor no choice as to what our own course should be. 

For my own part, I cannot consent to any abridg- 
ment of the rights of American citizens in any respect. 
The honor and self-respect of the Nation is involved. 
We covet peace, and shall preserve it at any cost but 
the loss of honor. To forbid our people to exercise their 
rights for fear we might be called upon to vindicate 
them would be a deep humiliation indeed. It would be 
an implicit, all but an explicit, acquiescence in the vio- 
lation of the rights of mankind everywhere and of what- 
ever nation or allegiance. It would be a deliberate abdi- 
cation of our hitherto proud position as spokesman, 
even amid the turmoil of war, for the law and the right. 
It would make everything this Government has at- 
tempted and everything that it has accomplished during 
this terrible struggle of nations meaningless and futile. 


It is important to reflect that if in this instance we 
allowed expediency to take the place of principle the 
door would inevitably be opened to still further conces- 
sions. Once accept a single abatement of right, and 
many other humiliations would certainly follow, and the 
whole fine fabric of international law might crumble 
under our hands piece by piece. What we are contend- 
ing for in this matter is of the very essence of the 
things that have made America a sovereign nation. She 
cannot yield them without conceding her own impotency 
as a Nation and making virtual surrerder of her inde- 
pendent position among the nations of the world. 

I am speaking, my dear Senator, in deep solemnity, 
without heat, with a clear consciousness of the high 
responsibilities of my office and as your sincere and 
devoted friend. If we should unhappily differ, we shall 
differ as friends, but where issues so momentous as 
these are involved we must, just because we are friends, 
speak our minds without reservation. 

Faithfully yours, 



FEBRUARY 29, 1916 

A reBolution was introduced in the Home of BeprettntatiTes on Febnuury 
22, 1916, requesting the President to ask all ABtricana to refrain from 
traveling upon belligerent, that is to say British merebant ahipa, and 
warning them that they did so at their own peril and that, by doing so, they 
forfeited the protection of the United States.* The passage of such a resolution 
would have embarrassed the Administration in its negotiations with Germany, 
which denied this right to Americans; and a very considerable vote for this 
resolution would have shown a division on this subject and would have been 
imfortunate, as indicating a division of opinion on foreign policy, in which 
and about which the American people should be a unit. Therefore the President 
wrote the following letter to bring the matter to the test of a vote in the 

My dear Mr. Pou: 

Inasmuch as I learn that Mr. Henry, the chairman 
of the Committee on Rules, is absent in Texas, I take 
the liberty of calling your attention, as ranking mem- 
ber of the committee, to a matter of grave ooncem to 
the country which can, I believe, be handled, under the 
rules of the House, only by that committee. 

The report that there are divided counsels in Con- 
gress in regard to the foreign policy of the Qovemment 
is being made industrious use of in foreign capitals. I 
believe that report to be false, but so long as it is any- 
where credited it cannot fail to do the greatest harm 
and expose the country to the most serious risks. I 
therefore feel justified in asking that your committee 
will permit me to urge an early vote upon the resolu- 
tions with regard to travel on armed merchantmen 

' On this subject see the memorandimi transmitted to the Committee on For- 
eign Affairs, House of Representatives, March 4, 1910. Appendix, pp. 411-424. 



which have recently been so much talked about, in 
order that there may be afforded an immediate oppor- 
tunity for full public discussion and action upon them 
and that all doubts and conjectures may be swept away 
and our foreign relations once more cleared of damag- 
ing misunderstandings. 

The matter is of so grave importance and lies so 
clearly within the field of Executive initiative that I 
venture to hope that your committee will not think that 
I am taking an unwarranted liberty in making this 
suggestion as to the business of the House ; and I very 
earnestly commend it to their immediate consideration. 
Cordially and sincerely, yours, 

WooDROw Wilson. 


Gentlemen of the Congress: 

A situation has arisen in the foreign relations of the 
country of which it is my plain duty to inform you 
very frankly. 

It wiU be recalled that in February, 1915, the Im- 
perial German Government announced its intention to 
treat the waters surrounding Great Britain and Ire- 
land as embraced within the seat of war and to destroy 
aU merchant ships owned by its enemies that might be 
found within any part of that portion of the high seas, 
and that it warned all vessels, of neutral as well as of 
belligerent ownership, to keep out of the waters it had 
thus proscribed or else enter them at their peril. The 
Government of the United States earnestly protested. 
It took the position that such a policy could not be 
pursued without the practical certainty of gross and 
palpable violations of the law of nations, particularly if 
submarine craft were to be employed as its instruments^ 
inasmuch as the rules prescribed by that law, rules 
founded upon principles of humanity and established 
for the protection of the lives of non-combatants at sea^ 
could not in the nature of the case be observed by such 
vessels. It based its protest on the ground that persons 
of neutral nationality and vessels of neutral ownership 
would be exposed to extreme and intolerable risks, and 



that no right to close any part of the high seas against 
their use or to expose them to such risks could law- 
fully be asserted by any belligerent government. The 
law of nations in these matters, upon which the Gov- 
. ernment of the United States based its protest, is not 
of recent origin or founded upon merely arbitrary prin- 
ciples set up by convention. It is based, on the con- 
trary, upon manifest and imperative principles of 
humanity and has long been established with the ap- 
proval and by the express assent of all civilized nations. 

Notwithstanding the earnest protest of our Govern- 
ment, the Imperial German Government at once pro- 
ceeded to carry out the policy it had announced. It ex- 
pressed the hope that the dangers involved, at any rate 
the dangers to neutral vessels, would be reduced to a 
TninimuTn by the instructions which it had issued to its 
submarine commanders, and assured the Government of 
the United States that it would take every possible pre- 
caution both to respect the rights of neutrals and to 
safeguard the lives of non-combatants. 

What has actually happened in the year which has 
since elapsed has shown that those hopes were not justi- 
fied, those assurances insusceptible of being fulfilled. 
In pursuance of the policy of submarine warfare against 
the commerce of its adversaries, thus announced and 
entered upon by the Imperial German Government in 
despite of the solemn protest of this Government, the 
commanders of German undersea vessels have attacked 
merchant ships with greater and greater activity, not 
only upon the high seas surrounding Great Britain and 
Ireland but wherever they could encounter them, in a 


way that has grown more and more ruthless, more and 
more indiscriminate as the months have gone by, less 
and less observant of restraints of any kind; and have 
delivered their attacks without compunction against 
vessels of every nationality and bound upon every sort 
of errand. Vessels of neutral ownership, even vessels 
of neutral ownership bound from neutral port to neu- 
tral port, have been destroyed along with vessels of bel- 
ligerent ownership in constantly increasing niunbers. 
Sometimes the merchantman attacked has been warned 
and summoned to surrender before being fired on or 
torpedoed; sometimes passengers or crews have been 
vouchsafed the poor security of being allowed to take 
to the ship's boats before she was sent to the bottom. 
But again and again no warning has been given, no 
escape even to the ship's boats allowed to those on 
board. What this Government foresaw must happen 
has happened. Tragedy has followed tragedy on the 
seas in such fashion, with such attendant circumstances, 
as to make it grossly evident that warfare of such a 
sort, if warfare it be, cannot be carried on without the 
most palpable violation of the dictates alike of right and 
of humanity. Whatever the disposition and intention of 
the Imperial German Government, it has manifestly 
proved impossible for it to keep such methods of attack 
upon the commerce of its enemies within the bounds 
set by either the reason or the heart of mankind. 

In February of the present year the Imperial Ger- 
man Government informed this Government and the 
other neutral governments of the world that it had 
reason to believe that the Government of Great Britain 


had armed all merchant vessels of British ownership 
and had given them secret orders to attack any sub- 
marine of the enemy they might encounter upon the 
seas, and that the Imperial German Government felt 
justified in the circimastances in treating all armed mer- 
chantmen of belligerent ownership as auxiliary vessels 
of war, which it would have the right to destroy with- 
out warning. The law of nations has long recognized 
the right of merchantmen to carry arms for protection 
and to use them to repel attack, though to use them, 
in such circumstances, at their own risk; but the Im- 
perial German Government claimed the right to set 
these understandings aside in circumstances which it 
deemed extraordinary. Even the terms in which it 
annoimced its purpose thus still further to relax the 
restraints it had previously professed its willingness 
and desire to put upon the operations of its submarines 
carried the plain implication that at least vessels which 
were not armed would still be exempt from destruction 
without warning and that personal safety would be 
accorded their passengers and crews; but even that 
limitation, if it was ever practicable to observe it, has 
in fact constituted no check at all upon the destruction 
of ships of every sort. 

Again and again the Imperial German Government 
has given this Government its solemn assurances that 
at least passenger ships would not be thus dealt with, 
and yet it has again and again permitted its undersea 
commanders to disregard those assiu-ances with entire 
impunity. Great liners like the Lusitania and the 
Arabic and mere ferryboats like the Sussex have been 


attacked without a moment's warning, sometimes before 
they had even become aware that they were in the 
presence of an armed vessel of the enemy, and the lives 
of non-combatants, passengers and crew, have been sac- 
rificed wholesale, in a manner which the Government of 
the United States cannot but regard as wanton and 
without the slightest color of justification. No limit of 
any kind has in fact been set to the indiscriminate pur- 
suit and destruction of merchantmen of all kinds and 
nationalities within the waters, constantly extending in 
area, where these operations have been carried on; and 
the roll of Americans who have lost their lives on ships 
thus attacked and destroyed has grown month by month 
until the ominous toll has mounted into the himdreds. 
One of the latest and most shocking instances of this 
method of warfare was that of the destruction of the 
French cross-Channel steamer Sussex. It must stand 
forth, as the sinking of the steamer Lusitania did, as 
80 singularly tragical and imjustifiable as to constitute 
a truly terrible example of the inhumanity of submarine 
warfare as the commanders of German vessels have for 
the past twelvemonth been conducting it. If this in- 
stance stood alone, some explanation, some disavowal by 
the German Government, some evidence of criminal mis- 
take or willful disobedience on the part of the com- 
mander of the vessel that fired the torpedo might be 
sought or entertained; but unhappily it does not stand 
^one. Recent events make the conclusion inevitable 
t:hat it is only one instance, even though it be one of the 
imost extreme and distressing instances, of the spirit 
and method of warfare which the Imperial German 


Government has mistakenly adopted, and which from 
the first exposed that Government to the reproach of 
thrusting all neutral rights aside in pursuit of its imme- 
diate objects. 

The Government of the United States has been very- 
patient. At every stage of this distressing experience 
of tragedy after tragedy in which its own citizens were 
involved it has sought to be restrained from any extreme 
course of action or of protest by a thoughtful consider- 
ation of the extraordinary circumstances of this un- 
precedented war, and actuated in all that it said or 
did by the sentiments of genuine friendship which the 
people of the United States have always entertained 
and continue to entertain towards the German nation. 
It has of course accepted the successive explanations and 
assurances of the Imperial German Government as given 
in entire sincerity and good faith, and has hoped, even 
against hope, that it would prove to be possible for the 
German Government so to order and control the acts 
of its naval commanders as to square its policy with 
the principles of humanity as embodied in the law of 
nations. It has been willing to wait until the signifi- 
cance of the facts became absolutely unmistakable and 
susceptible of but one interpretation. 

That point has now unhappily been reached. The 
facts are susceptible of but one interpretation. The 
Imperial German Government has been unable to put 
any limits or restraints upon its warfare against either 
freight or passenger ships. It has therefore become 
painfully evident that the position which this Govern- 
ment took at the very outset is inevitable, namely, that 


process of being swept utterly away in the maelstrom of 
this terrible war. We owe it to a due regard for our 
own rights as a nation, to our sense of duty as a rep- 
resentative of the rights of neutrals the world over, 
and to a just conception of the rights of mankind to 
take this stand now with the utmost solemnity and 

I have taken it, and taken it in the confidence that 
it will meet with your approval and support. All sober- 
minded men must imite in hoping that the Imperial 
German Government, which has in other circumstances 
stood as the champion of all that we are now contending 
for in the interest of humanity, may recognize the jus- 
tice of our demands and meet them in the spirit in 
which they are made. 


MAY 27, 1916 

The League to Enforce Peace was formed at Philadelphia on June 17, 1016, 
proposing a league of the nations to submit their justiciable disputes to the 
decision of an international court of justice; their non-justiciable disputes to a 
council of conciliation for investigation and report, leaving to public opinion the 
enforcement of the decision of the court and the report of the Council; pledging 
the combined force of the members of the League to restrain a member thereof 
from going to war with another member before the submission of the dispute to 
court or council, at the request of the other disputant; and finally, an agreement 
of the members of the League to hold conferences from time to time, to agree 
upon the principles of international law to be applied by the court in the settle- 
ment of disputes submitted to it. At the banquet of the League held in Wash* 
ington. May 27, 1016, the President delivered the following address. 

When the invitation to be here to-night came to me, 
I was glad to accept it, — ^not because it offered me an 
opportunity to discuss the program of the League, — 
that you will, I am sure, not expect of me, — ^but because 
the desire of the whole world now turns eagerly, more 
and more eagerly, towards the hope of peace, and there 
is just reason why we should take our part in counsel 
upon this great theme. It is right that I, as spokesman 
of our Government, should attempt to give expression 
to what I believe to be the thought and purpose of the 
people of the United States in this vital matter. 

This great war that broke so suddenly upon the world 



two years ago, and which has swept within its flame so 
great a part of the civilized world, has affected ns very 
profoundly, and we are not only at liberty, it is perhaps 
our duty, to speak very frankly of it and of the great 
interests of civilization which it affects. 

With its causes and its objects we are not con- 
cerned. The obscure fountains from which its stupen- 
dous flood has burst forth we are not interested to 
search for or explore. But so great a flood, spread far 
and wide to every quarter of the globe, has of neces- 
sity engulfed many a fair province of right that lies 
very near to us. Our own rights as a Nation, the liber- 
ties, the privileges, and the property of our people have 
been profoundly affected. We are not mere discon- 
nected lookers-on. The longer the war lasts, the more 
deeply do we become concerned that it should be brought 
to an end and the world be permitted to resume its 
normal life and course again. And when it does come 
to an end we shall be as much concerned as the nations 
at war to see peace assume an aspect of permanence, 
give promise of days from which the anxiety of uncer- 
tainty shall be lifted, bring some assurance that peace 
and war shall always hereafter be reckoned part of 
the common interest of mankind. We are participants, 
whether we would or not, in the life of the world. The 
interests of all nations are our own also. We are part- 
ners with the rest. What affects mankind is inevitably 
our affair as well as the affair of the nations of Europe 
and of Asia. 

One observation on the causes of the present war we 
are at liberty to make, and to make it may throw some 


light forward upon the future, as well as backward 
upon the past. It is plain that this war could have come 
only as it did, suddenly and out of secret counsels, with- 
out warning to the world, without discussion, without 
any of the deliberate movements of counsel with which 
it would seem natural to approach so stupendous a con- 
test. It is probable that if it had been foreseen just 
what would happen, just what alliances would be formed, 
just what forces arrayed against one another, those who 
brought the great contest on would have been glad to 
substitute conference for force. If we ourselves had 
been afforded some opportunity to apprise the belliger- 
ents of the attitude which it would be our duty to take, 
of the policies and practices against which we would 
feel boimd to use all our moral and economic strength, 
and in certain circumstances even our physical strength 
also, our own contribution to the counsel which might 
have averted the struggle would have been considered 
worth weighing and regarding. 

And the lesson which the shock of being taken by 
surprise in a matter so deeply vital to aU the nations 
of the world has made poignantly clear is, that the peace 
of the world must henceforth depend upon a new and 
more wholesome diplomacy. Only when the great na- 
tions of the world have reached some sort of agreement 
as to what they hold to be fundamental to their com- 
mon interest, and as to some feasible method of acting 
in concert when any nation or group of nations seeks 
to disturb those fundamental things, can we feel that 
civilization is at last in a way of justifying its existence 
and claiming to be finally established. It is clear that 


nations must in the future be governed by the same 
high code of honor that we demand of individuals. 

We must, indeed, in the very same breath with which 
we avow this conviction admit that we have ourselves 
upon occasion in the past been offenders against the law 
of diplomacy which we thus forecast; but our convic- 
tion is not the less clear, but rather the more clear, on 
that account. If this war has accomplished nothing else 
for the benefit of the world, it has at least disclosed a 
great moral necessity and set forward the thinking of 
the statesmen of the world by a whole age. Repeated 
utterances of the leading statesmen of most of the great 
nations now engaged in war have made it plain that 
their thought has come to this, that the principle of 
public right must henceforth take precedence over the 
individual interests of particular nations, and that the 
nations of the world must in some way band themselves 
together to see that that right prevails as against any 
sort of selfish aggression; that henceforth alliance must 
not be set up against alliance, understanding against 
imderstanding, but that there must be a common agree- 
ment for a common object, and that at the heart of 
that common object must lie the inviolable rights of 
peoples and of mankind. The nations of the world have 
become each other's neighbors. It is to their interest 
that they should understand each other. In order that 
they may understand each other, it is imperative that 
they should agree to co-operate in a common cause, and 
that they should so act that the guiding principle of 
that common cause shall be even-handed and impartial 


This is undoubtedly the thought of America. This 
is what we ourselves will say when there comes proper 
occasion to say it. In the dealings of nations with on6 
another arbitrary force must be rejected and we must 
move forward to the thought of the modern world, the 
thought of which peace is the very atmosphere. That 
thought constitutes a chief part of the passionate con- 
viction of America. 

We believe these fundamental things: First, that 
every people has a right to choose the sovereignty under 
which they shall live. Like other nations, we have our- 
selves no doubt once and again offended against that 
principle when for a little while controlled by selfish 
passion, as our franker historians have been honorable 
enough to admit ; but it has become more and more our 
rule of life and action. Second, that the small states 
of the world have a right to enjoy the same respect for 
their sovereignty and for their territorial integrity that 
great and powerful nations expect and insist upon. 
And, third, that the world has a right to be free from 
every disturbance of its peace that has its origin in 
aggression and disregard of 'the rights of peoples and 

So sincerely do we believe in these things that I am 
sure that I speak the mind and wish of the people of 
America when I say that the United States is willing 
to become a partner in any feasible association of 
nations formed in order to realize these objects and 
make them secure against violation. 

There is nothing that the United States wants for 
itself that any other nation has. We are willing, on the 


contrary, to limit ourselves along with them to a 
prescribed course of duty and respect for the rights 
of others which will check any selfish passion of our 
own, as it will check any aggressive impulse of 


If it should ever be our privilege to suggest or 
iuitiate a movement for peace among the nations now 
at war, I am sure that the people of the United States 
would wish their Government to move along these 
lines: First, such a settlement with regard to their 
own immediate interests as the belligerents may agree 
upon. We have nothing material of any kind to ask 
fw ourselves, and are quite aware that we are in no 
Menae or degree parties to the present quarreL Our 
interest is only in peace and its future guarantees. 
Hecond, an imiversal association of the nations to main- 
tain the inviolate security of the highway of the seas 
for the common and unhindered use of all the nations 
ivf the world, and to prevent any war begun either con- 
trary to treaty covenants or without warning and full 
submission of the causes to the opinion of the world, — a 
virtual guarantee of territorial integrity and political 

But I did not come here, let me repeat, to discuss 
a program. I came only to avow a creed and give 
expression to the confidence I feel that the world is even 
now upon the eve of a great consummation, when some 
common force will be brought into existence which shall 
safeguard right as the first and most fundamental inter- 
est of all peoples and all governments, when coercion 
shall be summoned not to the service of political ambi- 


tion or selfish hostility, but to the service of a common 
order, a common justice, and a common peace. God 
grant that the dawn of that day of frank dealing and of 
settled peace, concord, and co-operation may be near 
at handl 


TON, MAY 30, 1916 

Whenever I seek to interpret the spirit of an occa- 
sion like this, I am led to reflect upon the seas of mem- 
ory. We are here to-day to recall a period of our his- 
tory, which in one sense is so remote that we no longer 
seem to keep the vital threads of it in our conscious- 
ness, and yet is so near that men who played heroic 
parts in it are still living, are still about us, are still 
here to receive the homage of our respect and our 
honor. They belong to an age which is past, to a period, 
the vital questions of which no longer vex the nation, 
to a period of which it may be said that certain things 
which had been questionable in the affairs of the United 
States were once for all settled, disposed of, put behind 
us, and in the course of time have almost been forgotten. 

It was a singularly complete work that was per- 
formed by the processes of blood and iron at the time 
of the Civil War, and it is singular how the settlement 
has ruled our spirits since it was made. I see in this 
very audience men who fought in the Confederate ranks. 
I see them taking part in these exercises in the same 
spirit of sincere patriotism that moves those who fought 
on the side of the Union, and I reflect how singular 
and how handsome a thing it is that wounds such as 
then were opened should be so completely healed, and 
that the spirit of America should so prevail over the 
spirit of division. 



It is the all-prevailing and triumphant spirit of 
America, where, by our common action and consent, 
Governments are set up and pulled down, where affairs 
are ruled by common counsel, and where, by the healing 
processes of peace all men are united in a common 
enterprise of liberty and of peace. 

And yet, ladies and gentlemen, the very object for 
which we are met together is to renew in our hearts 
the spirit that made these things possible. The Union 
was saved by the processes of the Civil War. That was 
a crisis which could be handled, it seems, in no other 
way, but I need not tell you that the peculiarity of this 
singular and beloved country is that its task — ^its human 
task — is apparently never finished; that it is always 
making and to be made. 

And there is at present upon us a crisis which seems 
to threaten to be a new crisis of division. We know 
that the war which is to ensue will be a war of 
spirits and not of arms. We know that the spirit 
of America is invincible and that no man can abate 
its power, but we know that that spirit must upon 
occasion be asserted, and that this is one of the 

America is made up out of all the nations of the 
world. Look at the rosters of the Civil War. Tou will 
see names there drawn from almost every European 
stock. Not recently, but from the first, America has 
drawn her blood and her impulse from all the sources 
of energy that spring at the fountains of every race, 
and because she is thus compounded out of the peoples 
of the world her problem is largely a problem of union 


.Ul tht) tixue> a problem of compounding out of many 
cl^uouta a single triiunphal force. 

'Ihe war in Emrope has done a very natural thing 
iu ^Viuorica. It has stirred the memories of men drawn 
twm uuuiy of the belligerent stocks. It has renewed 
iu thwx a national feeling which had grown faint under 
ttic i^oothing influence of peace, but which now flares up 
wht^n it looks as if nation had challenged nation to a final 
iHH^oning, and they remember the nations from which 
thuy were sprung and know that they are in this life- 
aud-death grapple. It is not singular, my fellow citi- 
lAons, that this should have occurred, and up to a certain 
point it is not just that we should criticize it. We have 
uo oritidsm for men who love the places of their birth 
aud the sources of their origin. We do not wish men 
ti> target their mothers and their fathers, their forbears 
vuuuing back through long, laborious generations which 
have taken part in the building up of the strength and 
apirit of other nations. No man quarrels with that. 

From such springs of sentiment we all draw some 
of the handsomest inspirations of our lives. But all 
that we do criticize is that in some instances — they are 
not very numerous — ^but in some instances men have 
allowed this old ardor of another nationality to over- 
throw their ardor for the nationality to which they 
have given their new and voluntary allegiance. And 
ao the United States has again to work out by spiritual 
process a new imion, when men shall not think of what 
divides them but shall recall what imites them; when 
men shall not allow old loves to take the place of pres- 
ent allegiances ; when men must, on the contrary, trans- 


late that very ardor of love for the country of their birth 
into the ardor of love for the country of their adoption 
and the principles which it represents. 

I have no harshness in my heart even for the ex- 
tremists in this thing which I have been trying in 
moderate words to describe; but I summon them, and 
I summon them very solemnly, not to set their pur- 
pose against the purpose of America. America must 
come first in every purpose we entertain, and every 
man must count upon being cast out of our confidence, 
cast out even of our tolerance, who does not submit to 
that great ruHng principle. 

But what are the purposes of America? Do you 
not see that there is another significance in the fact 
that we are made up out of all the peoples of the world ? 
The significance of that fact is that we are not going 
to devote our nationality to the same mistaken aggres- 
sive purposes that some other nationalities have been 
devoted to; that because we are made up, and con- 
sciously made up, out of all the great family of man- 
kind, we are champions of the rights of mankind. 

We are not only ready to co-operate, but we are 
ready to fight against any aggression, whether from 
without or from within. But we must guard ourselves 
against the sort of aggression which would be unworthy 
of America. We are ready to fight for our rights when 
those rights are coincident with the rights of man and 
humanity. It was to set those rights up, to vindicate 
them, to offer a •home to every man who believed in 
them, that America was created and her Government set 
up. We have kept our doors open because we did not 


think we in conscience could close them against men who 
wanted to join their force with ours in vindicating the 
claim of mankind to liberty and justice. 

America does not want any additional territory. She 
does not want any selfish advantage over any other 
nation in the world, but she does wish every nation in 
the world to understand what she stands for and to 
respect what she stands for; and I cannot conceive of 
any man of any blood or origin failing to feel an enthusi- 
asm for the things that America stands for, or failing 
to see that they are indefinitely elevated above any pur- 
pose of aggression or selfish advantage. 

I said the other evening in another place that one 
of the principles which America held dear was that 
small and weak States had as much right to their sover- 
eignty and independence as large and strong States. 
She believes that because strength and weakness have 
nothing to do with her principles. Her principles are 
for the rights and liberties of mankind, and this is the 
haven which we have offered to those who believe that 
sublime and sacred creed of humanity. 

And I also said that I believed the people of 
the United States were ready to become partners in any 
alliance of the nations that would guarantee public right 
above selfish aggression. Some of the public prints have 
reminded me, as if I needed to be reminded, of what 
General Washington warned us against. He warned us 
against entangling alliances. I shall never myself con- 
sent to an entangling alliance, but I would gladly assent 
to a disentangling alliance — an alliance which would 
disentangle the peoples of the world from those com- 


binations in which they seek their own separate and 
private interests and unite the people of the world to 
preserve the peace of the world upon a basis of com- 
mon right and justice. There is liberty there, not limi- 
tation. There is freedom, not entanglement. There is 
the adiievement of the highest things for which the 
United States has declared its principle. 

We have been engaged recently, my fellow citizens, in 
discussing the processes of preparedness. I have been 
trying to explain to you what we are getting prepared for, 
and I want to point out to yoit the only process of 
preparation which is possible for the United States. 

It is possible for the United States to get ready 
only if the men of suitable age and strength will volun- 
teer to get ready. 

I heard the president of the United States Chamber 
of Conunerce report the other evening on a referendum 
of 750 of the Chambers of Commerce of the United 
States upon the question of preparedness, and he re- 
ported that 99 per cent of them had voted in favor of 
preparedness. Very well, now, we are going to apply 
the acid test, to those gentlemen, and the acid test is this : 
Will they give the young men in their employment free- 
dom to volunteer for this thing ? I wish the referendum 
had included that, becau^ie that is of the essence of the 

It is all very well to say that somebody else must 
prepare, but are the business men of this country ready 
themselves to lend a hand and sacrifice an interest in 
order that we may get ready! We shall have an answer 
to that question in the next few months. A bill is lying 


upon my table now, ready to be signed, which bristles 
all over with that interrogation point, and I want all 
the business men of the country to see that interroga- 
tion point staring them in the face. I have heard a 
great many people talk about universal training. Uni- 
versal voluntary training, with aU my heart, if you 
wish it, but America does not wish anything but the 
compulsion of the spirit of America. 

I, for my part, do not entertain any serious doubt 
of the answer to these questions, because I suppose there 
is no place in the world where the compulsion of public 
opinion is more imperative than it is in the United 
States. You know yourself how you behave when you 
think nobody is watching. And now all the people of 
the United States are watching each other. There never 
was such a blazing spotlight upon the conduct and prin- 
ciples of every American as each one of us now walks 
and blinks in. 

And as this spotlight sweeps its relentless rays across 
every square mile of the territory of the United States, 
I know a great many men, even when they do not want 
to, are going to stand up and say, **Here.'' Because 
America is roused, roused to a self -consciousness and 
a national self -consciousness such as she has not had in 
a generation. 

And this spirit is going out conquering and to con- 
quer until, it may be, in the Providence of God, a new 
light is lifted up in America which shall throw the rays 
of liberty and justice far abroad upon every sea, and 
even upon the lands which now wallow in darkness and 
refuse to see the light. 



ACADEMY, JUNE 18. 1916 

The United States Military Academy was authorized by an act of Congress 
of March 16, 1802. West Point, New York, was selected for its location, and, 
with a class of ten cadets present, it was formally opened on July 4, 1802. 
The Act of May 4, 1916, provided that the Corps of Cadets at the United States 
Military Academy shall hereafter consist of two for each congressional district, 
two from each Territory, four from the District of Columbia, two from natives 
uf Porto Rico, four from each State at large, and eighty from the United States 
at large twenty of whom shall be selected from among the honor graduates 
of educational institutions having officers of the Regular Army detailed as pro- 
fessors of military science and tactics under existing law or any law hereafter 
enacted for the detail of officers of the Regular Army to such institutions, and 
which institutions are designated as "honor schools" upon the determination 
of their relative standing at the last preceding annual inspection regularly 
made by the War Department. They shall be appointed by the President and 
shall, with the exception of the eighty appointed from the United States at 
large, be actual residents of the Congressional or Territorial district, or of the 
District of Columbia, or of the island of Porto Rico, or of the States, respec* 
tively, from which they purport to be appointed. On mental and physical 
examination they are admitted to the Academy, and upon the successful com- 
pletion of four years of study are appointed second lieutenants of the Regular 
Army. The number allowed by law is 1336 and the actual nuihber in attendance 
in 1917 was 898. To the class graduating on June 13, 1916, President Wilson 
delivered the following address. 

I look upon this body of men who are graduating 
today with a peculiar interest. I feel like congratu- 
lating them that they are living in a day not only so 
interesting, because so fraught with change, but also 
because so responsible. Days of responsibility are the 
only days that count in time, because they are the only 
days that give test of quality. They are the only days 
when manhood and purpose is tried out as if by fire. 
I need not tell you young gentlemen that you are not 
like an ordinary graduating class of one of our uni- 
versities. The men in those classes look forward to 
the life which they are to lead after graduation with 



a great many questions in their mind. Most of them 
do not know exactly what their lives are going to 
develop into. Some of them do not know what occupa- 
tions they are going to follow. All of them are con- 
jecturing what will be the line of duty and advancement 
and the ultimate goal of success for them. 

There is no conjecture for you. You have enlisted 
in something that does not stop when you leave the 
Academy, for you then only begin to realize it, which 
then only begins to be fulfilled with the full richness 
of its meaning, and you can look forward with absolute 
certainty to the sort of thing that you will be obliged 
to do. 

This has always been true of graduating classes at 
West Point, but the certainty that some of the older 
classes used to look forward to was a dull certainty. 
Some of the old days in the army, I fancy, were not 
very interesting days. Sometimes men like the present 
Chief of Staff, for example, could fill their lives with 
the interest of really knowing and understanding the 
Indians of the Western plains, knowing what was going 
on inside their minds and being able to be the inter- 
mediary between them and those who dealt with them, 
by speaking their sign language, could enrich their 
lives, but the ordinary life of the average officer at a 
Western post can not have been very exciting, and I 
think with admiration of those dull years through 
which officers who had not a great deal to do insisted, 
nevertheless, upon being efficient and worth while and 
keeping their men fit at any rate, for the duty to which 
they were assigned. 


But in your case there are many extraordinary 
possibilities, because, gentlemen, no man can certainly 
teU you what the immediate future is going to be either 
in the history of this country or in the history of the 
world. It is not by accident that the present great 
war came in Europe- Every element was there, and 
the contest had to come sooner or later, and it is not 
going to be by accident that the results are worked 
out, but by purpose — ^by the purpose of the men who 
are strong enough to have guiding minds and in- 
domitable wills when the time for decision and settle- 
ment comes. And the part that the United States is 
to play has this distinction in it, that it is to be in any 
event a disinterested part. There is nothing that the 
United States wants that it has to get by war, but 
there are a great many things that the United States 
has to do. It has to see that its life is not interfered 
with by anybody else who wants something. 

These are days when we are making preparation, 
when the thing most conunonly discussed around every 
sort of table, in every sort of circle, in the shops and 
in the streets, is preparedness, and undoubtedly, gentle- 
men, that is the present imperative duty of America, 
to be prepared. But we ought to know what we are 
preparing for. I remember hearing a wise man say 
once that the old maxim that "everything comes to 
the man who waits'' is all very well provided he knows 
what he is waiting for; and preparedness might be 
a very hazardous thing if we did not know what we 
wanted to do with the force that we mean to accumulate 
and to get into fighting shape. 


America, fortunately, does know what she wants 
to do with her force. America came into existence for 
a particular reason. iWhen you look about upon these 
beautiful hills, and up this stately stream, and then 
let your imagination run over the whole body of this 
great country from which you youngsters are drawn, 
far and wide, you remember that while it had aborigi- 
nal inhabitants, while there were people living here, 
there was no civilization which we displaced. It was 
as if in the Providence of God a continent had been 
kept unused and waiting for a peaceful people who 
loved liberty and the rights of men more than they 
loved anything else, to come and set up an unselfish 
commonwealth. It is a very extraordinary thing. You 
are so familiar with American history, at any rate in 
its general character — ^I don't accuse you of knowing 
the details of it, for I never found the youngster who 
did, — ^but you are so familiar with the general character 
of American history that it does not seem strange to 
you, but it is a very strange history. There is none 
other like it in the whole annals of mankind — of men 
gathering out of every civilized nation of the world 
on an unused continent and building up a polity exactly 
to suit themselves, not under the domination of any 
ruling dynasty or of the ambitions of any royal family ; 
doing what they pleased with their own Hf e on a free 
space of land which God had made rich with every 
resource which, was necessary for the civilization they 
meant to build up. There is nothing like it. 

Now, what we are preparing to do is to see that 
nobody mars that and that, being safe itself against 


interference from the outside, all of its force is going 
to be behind its moral idea, and mankind is going to 
know that when America speaks she means what she 
says. I heard a man say to another, "If you wish me 
to consider you witty, I must really trouble you to 
make a joke.'' We have a right to say to the rest of 
mankind, **If you don't want to interfere with us, if 
you are disinterested, we must really trouble you to 
give the evidence of that fact." We are not in for any- 
thing selfish, and we want the whole mighty power of 
America thrown into that scale and not into any other. 
You know that the chief thing that is holding many 
people back from enthusiasm for what is called pre- 
paredness is the fear of militarism. I want to say 
a word to you young gentlemen about militarism. You 
are not militarists because you are military. Militarism 
does not consist in the existence of an army, not even 
in the existence of a very great army. Militarism is 
a spirit. It is a point of view. It is a system. It 
is a purpose. The purpose of militarism is to use 
armies for aggression. The spirit of militarism is the 
opposite of the civilian spirit, the citizen spirit. In a 
country where militarism prevails the military man 
looks down upon the civilian, regards him as inferior, 
thinks of him as intended for his, the military man's, 
support and use; and just so long as America is 
America that spirit and point of view is impossible 
with us. There is as yet in this country, so far as 
I can discover, no taint of the spirit of militarism. 
You young gentlemen are not preferred in promotion 
because of the families you belong to. You are not 


drawn into the Academy because you belong to certain 
influential circles. You do not come here with a long 
tradition of military pride back of you. 

You are picked out from the citizens of the United 
States to be that part of the force of the United States 
which makes its polity safe against interference. You 
are the part of American citizens who say to those 
who would interfere, "You must not'' and **You shall 
not.'' But you are American citizens, and the idea 
I want to leave with you boys today is this: No mat- 
ter what comes, always remember that first of all you 
are citizens of the United States before you are officers, 
and that you are officers because you represent in your 
particular profession what the citizenship of the United 
States stands for. There is no danger of militarism 
if you are genuine Americans, and I for one do not 
doubt that you are. When you begin to have the mili- 
taristic spirit — ^not the military spirit, that is aU right — 
then begin to doubt whether you are Americans or not. 

You know that one thing in which our forefathers 
took pride was this, that the civil power is superior 
to the military power in the United States. Once and 
again the people of the United States have so admired 
some great military man as to make him President of 
the United States, when he became commander-in-chief 
of all the forces of the United States, but he was com- 
mander-in-chief because he was President, not because 
he had been trained to arms, and his authority was 
civil, not military. I can teach you nothing of military 
power, but I am instructed by the Constitution to use 
you for constitutional and patriotic purposes. And 


that is the only use you care to be put to, and that is 
the only use you ought to care to be put to, because, 
after all, what is the use in being an American if you 
do not know what it is? 

You have read a great deal in the books about the 
pride of the old Roman citizen, who always felt like 
drawing himself to his full height when he said, **I am 
a Roman,'' but as compared with the pride that must 
have risen to his heart, our pride has a new distinction, 
not the distinction of the mere imperial power of a 
great empire, not the distinction of being masters of 
the world, but the distinction of carrying certain lights 
for the world that the world has never so distinctly 
seen before, certain guiding lights of liberty and prin- 
ciple and justice. We have drawn our people, as you 
know, from all parts of the world, and we have been 
somewhat disturbed recently, gentlemen, because some 
of those — ^though I believe a very small number — ^whom 
we have drawn into our citizenship have not taken 
into their hearts the spirit of America and have loved 
other countries more than they loved the country of 
their adoption; and we have talked a great deal about 
Americanism. It ought to be a matter of pride with 
us to know what Americanism really consists in. 

Americanism consists in utterly believing in the 
principles of America and putting them first as above 
anything that might by chance come into competition 
with it. And I, for my part, believe that the American 
test is a spiritual test. If a man has to make excuses 
for what he had done as an American, I doubt his 
Americanism. He ought to know at every step of his 


action that the motive that lies behind what he does 
is a motive which no American need be ashamed of 
for a moment Now, we ought to put this test to every 
man we know. We ought to let it be known that nobody 
who does not put America first can consort with us. 

But we ought to set them the example. We ought 
to set them the example by thinking American thoughts, 
by entertaining American purposes, and those thoughts 
and purposes will stand the test of example anywhere 
in the world, for they are intended for the betterment 
of mankind. 

So I have come to say these few words to you to- 
day, gentlemen, for a double purpose; first of all to 
express my personal good wishes to you in your gradua- 
tion, and my personal interest in you, and second of 
all to remind you how we must all stand together in 
one spirit as lovers and servants of America. And that 
means something more than lovers and servants merely 
of the United States. You have heard of the Monroe 
Doctrine, gentlemen. You know that we are already 
spiritual partners with both continents of this hemi- 
sphere and that America means something which is 
bigger even than the United States, and that we stand 
here with the glorious power of this country ready to 
swing it out into the field of action whenever liberty 
and independence and political integrity are threatened 
anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. And we are 
ready — ^nobody has authorized me to say this, but I am 
sure of it — ^we are ready to join with the other nations 
of the world in seeing that the kind of justice prevails 
everywhere that we believe in. 


So that you are graduating to-day, gentlemen, into a 
new distinction. Glory attaches to all these men whose 
names we love to recount who have made the annals of 
the American Army distinguished. They played the 
part they were called upon to play with honor and with 
extraordinary character and success. I am congratulat- 
ing you, not because you will be better than they, but 
because you will have a wider world of thought and con- 
ception to play your part in. I am an American, but I 
do not believe that any of us loves a blustering nation- 
ality, a nationality with a chip on its shoulder, a 
nationality with its elbows out and its swagger on. 

We love that quiet, self-respecting, unconquerable 
spirit which does not strike until it is necessary to 
strike, and then strikes to conquer. Never since I was 
a youngster have I been afraid of the noisy man. I 
have always been afraid of the still man. I have 
always been afraid of the quiet man. I had a class- 
mate at college who was most dangerous when he was 
most affable. When he was maddest he seemed to have 
the sweetest temper in the world. He would approach 
you with the most ingratiating smile, and then you 
knew that every red corpuscle in his blood was up 
and shouting. If you work things off in your elbows,, 
you do not work them off in your mind; you do not 
work them off in your purposes. 

So my conception of America is a conception of 
infinite dignity, along with quiet, unquestionable power. 
I ask you, gentlemen, to join with me in that con- 
ception, and let us all in our several spheres be soldiers 
together to realize it. 


JUNE 14, 1916 

Mb. Secbetaby, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I have not come here this afternoon with the pur- 
pose of delivering to you an elaborate address. It seems 
to me that the day is sufficiently eloquent already with 
the meaning which it should convey to us. The spec- 
tacle of the morning has been a very moving spectacle 
indeed — an almost unpremeditated outpouring of thou- 
sands of sober citizens to manifest their interest in the 
safety of the country and the sacredness of the flag 
which is its emblem. 

I need not remind you how much sentiment has been 
poured out in honor of the flag of the United States. 
Sometimes we have been charged with being a very sen- 
timental people, fond of expressing in general rhetorical 
phrases principles not sufficiently defined in action, and 
I dare say there have been times of happy and careless 
ease in this coimtry, when all that it has been neces- 
sary to do for the honor of the flag was to put our 
sentiments into poetic expressions, into the words that 
for the time being satisfied our hearts. 

But this is not a day of sentiment. Sentiment is a 
propulsive power, but it does not propel in the way that 
is serviceable to the nation unless it have a definite pur- 
pose before it. This is not merely a day of sentiment. 
This is a day of purpose. 



It is an eloquent symbol of the unity of our history 
that upon this monument, which commemorates the man 
who did most to establish the American Union, we should 
have hoisted those stars that have so multiplied since 
his time, associated with those lines of red and white 
which mean all that is pure in our purpose, and all that 
is red in our blood in the service of a nation whose his- 
tory has been full of inspiration because of his example. 

But Washington was one of the least sentimental 
men that America has ever produced. The thing that 
thrills me about Washington is that he is impatient of 
any sentiment that has not got definite purpose in it. 
His letters run along the lines of action, not merely 
along the mere lines of sentiment, and the most inspir- 
ing times that this nation has ever seen have been the 
times when sentiment had to be translated into action. 

Apparently this nation is again and again and again 
to be tested, and always tested in the same way. The 
last supreme test this nation went through was the test 
of the Civil War. You know how deep that cut. You 
know what exigent issues of life were at issue in that 
struggle. You know how two great sections of this 
Union seemed to be moving in opposite directions, and 
for a long time it was questionable whether that flag 
represented any one united purpose in America. And 
you know how deep that struggle cut into the sentiments 
of this people, and how there came a whole generation, 
following that great struggle, when men's hearts were 
bitter and sore, and memories hurt as well as exalted,. 
and how it seemed as if a rift had come in the hearts 
of the people of America. 


And you know how that ended. While it seemed a 
time of terror, it has turned out a proof of the validity 
of our hope. Where are now the divisions of sentiment 
which cut us asunder at the time of the Civil War? 
Did you not see the Blue and the Gray mingled this 
morning in the procession? Did not you see the sons 
of a subsequent generation walking together in happy 
comradeship? Was there any contradiction of feel- 
ing or division of sentiment evident there for a 
moment ? 

Nothing cuts so deep as a civil war, and yet all the 
woimds of that war have been healed, not only, but 
the very passion of that war seems to have contributed 
to the strength of national feeling which now moves us 
as a single body politic. 

And yet again the test is applied, my fellow-country- 
men. A new sort of division of feeling has sprung up 
among us. You know that we are derived in our citizen- 
ship from every nation in the world. It is not singu- 
lar that sentiment should be disturbed by what is going 
on on the other side of the water, but while sentiment 
may be disturbed, loyalty ought not to be. 

I want to be scrupulously just, my fellow-citizens, 
in assessing the circiunstances of this day, and I am 
siu-e that you wish with me to deal ou? with an even 
hand the praise and the blame of this day of test. 

I believe that the vast majority of those men whose 
lineage is directly derived from the nations now at war 
are just as loyal to the flag of the United States as any 
native citizen of this beloved land, but there are some 
men of that extraction who are not, and they, not only 


in past months, but at the present time, are doing their 
best to midermine the influence of the Government of 
the United States in the interest of matters which are 
foreign to us and which are not derived from the ques- 
tions of our own politics. 

There is disloyalty active in the United States, and 
it must be absolutely crushed. It proceeds from a 
minority, a very small minority, but a very active and 
subtle minority. It works undergroimd, but it also 
shows its ugly head where we can see it ; and there are 
those at this moment who are trying to levy a species 
of political blackmail, saying, **Do what we wish in the 
interest of foreign sentiment or we will wreak our venge- 
ance at the polls/' 

That is the sort of thing against which the Ameri- 
can nation will turn with a might and triumph of sen- 
timent which will teach these gentlemen once for all 
that loyalty to this flag is the first test of tolerance in 
the United States. 

That is the lesson that I have come to remind you 
of on this day — ^no mere sentiment. It runs into your 
daily life and conversation. Are you going yourselves, 
individually and collectively, to see to it that no man 
is tolerated who does not do honor to that flag? It is 
not a matter of force. It is not a matter, that is to 
say, of physical force. It is a matter of a greater force 
than that which is physical. It is a matter of spiritual 
force. It is to be achieved as we think, as we purpose, 
as we believe, and when the world finally learns that 
America is indivisible then the world will learn how 
truly and profoimdly great and powerful America is. 


I realize personally, my fellow citizens, the peculiar 
significance of the flag of the United States at this time, 
because there was a day not many years ago when, 
although I thought I knew what the flag stood for, it had 
not penetrated my whole consciousness as it has now. 

If you could have gone with me through the space 
of the last two years, and could have felt the subtle 
impact of intrigue and sedition, and have realized with 
me that those to whom you have intrusted authority are 
trustees not only of the power, but of the very spirit 
and purpose of the United States, you would realize 
with me the solemnity with which I look upon the 
sublime symbol of our unity and power. 

I want you to share that consciousness with me. I 
want you to realize that in what I am saying I am 
merely your spokesman, merely trying to interpret your 
thoughts, merely trying to put into inadequate words 
the purpose that is in your hearts. I regard this day 
as a day of rededication to all the ideals of the United 

I took the liberty a few weeks ago to ask our fellow 
citizens all over the United States to gather together in 
celebration of this day — ^the anniversary of the adoption 
of our present flag as the emblem of the nation. I had 
no legal right to declare it a holiday, I had no legal 
right to ask for the cessation of business, but when you 
read the papers to-morrow morning, I think you will see 
that authority was not necessary ; that the people of the 
country were waiting for an opportunity to cease their 
ordinary business and gather together in united demon- 
stration of their feeling as a nation. 


It was a very happy thought that led the committee 
of gentlemen who had charge of the demonstration of 
the forenoon to choose June 14 for the parade which 
most of us have witnessed. It is a tiresome thing, my 
fellow citizens, to stand for hours and see a parade go 
by, but I want to take you into this secret: It was not 
half as tiresome as the inauguration parade. The 
inauguration parade is a very interesting thing, but it 
is painfully interesting to the man who is being in- 
augurated, because there then lie ahead of him the four 
years of responsibility whose horoscope cannot be cast 
by any man. But to-day was interesting because the 
inauguration parade of the day of my inauguration is 
more than three years gone by. I have gone through 
deep waters with you in the meantime. 

This parade was not a demonstration in honor of any 
man. It was an outpouring of people to demonstrate a 
great national sentiment. I was not the object of it; 
I was one citizen among millions whose heart beat in 
unison with it. I felt caught up and buoyed along by 
the great stream of human purpose which seemed to 
flow there in front of me by the stand by the White 
House, and I shall go away from this meeting, as 1 
came away from that parade, with all the deepest pur- 
poses of my heart renewed ; and as I see the winds lov- 
ingly unfold the beautiful lines of our great flag, I shall 
seem to see a hand pointing the way of duty no matter 
how hard, no matter how long, which we shall tread 
while we vindicate the glory and honor of the United 


DETROIT, JULY 10, 1916 

Mr, Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen: 

It is with a great deal of gratification that I find 
myself facing so interesting and important a company 
as this. You will readily understand that I have not 
come here to make an elaborate address, but I have 
come here to express my interest in the objects of this 
great association, and to congratulate you on the oppor- 
tunities which are immediately ahead of you in handling 
the business of this coimtry. 

These are days of incalculable change, my fellow 
citizens. It is impossible for anybody to predict any- 
thing that is certain, in detail, with regard to the future 
either of this country or of the world in the large move- 
ments of business ; but one thing is perfectly clear, and 
that is that the United States will play a new part, 
and that it will be a part of imprecedented opportunity 
and of greatly increased responsibility. 

The United States has had a very singular history in 
respect of its business relationships with the rest of the 
world. I have always believed, and I think you have 
always believed, that there is more business genius in 
the United States than anywhere else in the world; 
and yet America has apparently been afraid of touch- 
ing too intimately the great processes of international 
exchange. America, of aU countries in the world, has 



been timid; has not until recently, has not until within 
the last two or three years, provided itself with the 
fundamental instrumentalities for playing a large part 
in the trade of the world. America, which ought to 
have had the broadest vision of any nation, has raised 
up an extraordinary niunber of provincial thinkers, men 
who thought provincially about business, men who 
thought that the United States was not ready to take 
her competitive part in the struggle for the peaceful 
conquest of the world. For anybody who reflects philo- 
sophically upon the history of this coimtry, that is the 
most amazing fact about it. 

But the time for provincial thinkers has gone by. 
We must play a great part in the world whether we 
choose it or not. Do you know the significance of this 
single fact, that within the last year or two we have, 
speaking in large terms, ceased to be a debtor nation 
and become a creditor nation? We have more of the 
surplus gold of the world than we ever had before, and 
our business hereafter is to be to lend and to help and 
to promote the great peaceful enterprises of the world. 
We have got to finance the world in some important 
degree, and those who finance the world must imder- 
stand it and rule it with their spirits and with their 
minds. We cannot cabin and confine ourselves any 
longer, and so I said that I came here to congratulate 
you upon the great role that lies ahead of you to play. 
This is a salesmanship congress, and hereafter sales- 
manship will have to be closely related in its outlook 
and scope to statesmanship, to international statesman- 
ship. It will have to be touched with an intimate com- 


prehensioB of the conditions of bnsiness and enterprise 
throughout the round globe, because America will have 
to place her goods by running her inteDigenee ahead of 
her goods. No amount of mere push, no amount of 
mere hustling, or, to speak in the western language, no 
amount of mere rustling, no amount of mere active 
enterprise, will suffice. 

There have been two ways of doing business in the 
world outside of the lands in which the great manufac- 
tures have been made. One has been to try to force 
the tastes of the manufacturing country on the country 
in which the markets were being sought, and the other 
way has been to study the tastes and needs of the coun- 
tries where the markets were being sought and suit your 
goods to those tastes and needs; and the latter method 
has beaten the former method. If you are going to sell 
carpets, for example, in India, you have got to have as 
good taste as the Indians in the patterns of the carpets, 
and that is going some. If you are going to sell things 
in tropical coimtries, they must, rather obviously, be 
different from those which you sell in cold and arctic 
coimtries. You cannot assume that the rest of the 
world is going to wear or use or manufacture what 
you wear and use and manufacture. Your raw mate- 
rials must be the raw materials that they need, not the 
raw materials that you need. Your manufactured goods 
must be the manufactured goods which they desire, not 
those which other markets have desired. So your busi- 
ness will keep pace with your knowledge, not of your- 
self and of your manufacturing processes, but of them 
and of their commercial needs. That is statesmanship. 


because that is relating your international activities to 
the conditions which exist in other countries. 

If we can once get what some gentlemen are so loath 
to give us, a merchant marine 1 The trouble with some 
men is that they are slow in their minds. They do not 
see ; they do not know the need, and they will not allow 
you to point it out to them. If we can once get in a 
position to deliver our own goods, then the goods that 
we have to deliver will be adjusted to the desires of 
those to whom we deliver them, and all the world will 
welcome America in the great field of commerce and 

There is a great deal of cant talked, my fellow citi- 
zens, about service. I wish the word had not been sur- 
roimded with so much sickly sentimentality, because it 
is a good, robust, red-blooded word, and it is the key to 
everything that concerns the peace and prosperity of 
the world. You cannot force yourself upon anybody 
who is not obliged to take you. The only way in which 
you can be sure of being accepted is by being sure that 
you have got something to offer that is worth taking, 
and the only way you can be sure of that is by being 
sure that you wish to adapt it to the use and the service 
of the people to whom you are trying to sell. 

I was trying to expoimd in another place the other 
day the long way and the short way to get together. 
The long way is to fight. ^ I hear some gentlemen say 
that they want to help Mexico, and the way they pro- 
pose to help her is to overwhelm her with force. That 
is the long way to help Mexico as well as the wrong 
way. After the fighting you have a nation full of justi- 


fied suspicion and animated by well-founded hostility 
and hatred, and then will you help them? Then will 
you establish cordial business relationships with them? 
Then will you go in as neighbors and enjoy their confi- 
dence ? On the contrary, you will have shut every door 
as if it were of steel against you. What makes Mexico 
suspicious of us is that she does not believe as yet that 
we want to serve her. She believes that we want to 
possess her, and she has justification for the belief in the 
way in which some of our fellow citizens have tried to 
exploit her privileges and possessions. For my part, I 
will not serve the ambitions of these gentlemen, but I 
will try to serve all America, so far as intercourse with 
Mexico is concerned, by trying to serve Mexico herself. 
There are some things that are not debatable. Of course, 
we have to defend our border. That goes without say- 
ing. Of course, we must make good our own sovereignty, 
but we must respect the sovereignty of Mexico. I am 
one of those — ^I have sometimes suspected that there were 
not many of them — ^who believe, absolutely believe, the 
Virginia Bill of Rights, which was the model of the old 
bill of rights, which says that a people has a right to 
do anything they please with their own country and 
their own government. I am old-fashioned enough to 
believe that, and I am going to stand by that belief. 
(That is for the benefit of those gentlemen who wish 
to butt in.) 

Now, I use that as an illustration, my fellow citizens. 
What do we all most desire when the present tragical 
confusion of the world's affairs is over? We desire 
permanent peace, do we not? Permanent peace can 


grow in only one soil. That is the soil of actual good 
-will, and good will cannot exist without mutual com- 
prehension. Charles Lamb, the English writer, made 
a very delightful remark that I have long treasured in 
my memory. He stuttered a Httle bit, and he said of 
someone who was not present, "I h-h-hate that m-man;'' 
and someone said, "Why, Charles, I didn't know you 
knew him.'' "Oh,'' he said, "I-I-I don't; I-I can't 
h-hate a m-man I know." That is a profound human 
remark. You cannot hate a man you know. I know 
some rascals whom I have tried to hate. I have tried 
to head them off as rascals, but I have been unable to 
hate them. I have liked them. And so, not to compare 
like with unlike, in the relationship of nations with each 
other, many of our antagonisms are based upon mis- 
imderstandings, and as long as you do not imderstand 
a country you cannot trade with it. As long as you 
cannot take its point of view you cannot commend your 
goods to its purchase. As long as you go to it with a 
supercilious air, for example, and patronize it, as we 
have tried to do in some less developed countries, and 
tell them that this is what they ought to want whether 
they want it or not, you cannot do business with them. 
You have got to approach them just as you really ought 
to approach all matters of human relationship. 

Those people who give their money to philanthropy, 
for example, but cannot for the life of them see from the 
point of view of those for whose benefit they are giving 
the money are not philanthropists. They endow and 
promote philanthropy, but you cannot be a philan- 
thropist unless you love all sorts and conditions of men. 


The great barrier in this world, I have sometimes 
thought, is not the barrier of principle, but the barrier 
of taste. Certain classes of society find certain other 
classes of society distasteful to them. They do not like 
the way they dress. They do not like the infrequeney 
with which they bathe. They do not like to consort 
with them imder the conditions imder which they live, 
and, therefore, they stand at a distance from them, and 
it is impossible for them to serve them. They do not 
understand them and do not feel that common pulse of 
' humanity and that common school of experience which 
is the only thing that binds us together and educates us 
in the same fashion. 

This, then, my friends, is the simple message that I 
bring you. Lift your eyes to the horizons of business; 
do not look too close at the little processes with which 
you are concerned, but let your thoughts and your 
imaginations run abroad throughout the whole world, 
and with the inspiration of the thought that you are 
Americans and are meant to carry liberty and justice 
and the principles of humanity wherever you go, go 
out and sell goods that will make the world more com- 
fortable and more happy, and convert them to the prin- 
ciples of America. 



My Fellow Citizens: 

This is an entire surprise party to me. I did not 
know I was going to have the pleasure of stopping long 
enough to address any number of you, but I am very 
glad indeed to give you my very cordial greetings and 
to express my very great interest in this interesting city. 

General Sherwood said that there were many things 
we agreed about; there is one thing we disagree about. 
General Sherwood has been opposing preparedness, and 
I have been advocating it, and I am very sorry to have 
found him on the other side. Because, I think, you will 
bear me witness, fellow citizens, that in advocating pre- 
paredness I have not been advocating hostility. You 
will bear me witness that I have been a persistent friend 
of peace and that nothing but unmistakable necessity 
will drive me from that position. I think it is a matter 
of sincere congratulation to us that our neighbor Re- 
public to the south shows evidences of at last believing 
in our friendly intentions; that while we must protect 
our border and see to it that our sovereignty is not 
impugned, we are ready to respect their sovereignty 
also, and to be their friends, and not their enemies. 

The real uses of intelligence, my fellow citizens, are 
the uses of peace. Any body of men can get up a row, 
but only an intelligent body of men can get together 
and co-operate. Peace is not only a test of a nation's 
patience; it is also a test of whether the nation knows 



how to conduct its relations or not. It takes time to do 
intelligent things, and it does not take any time to do 
unintelligent things. I can lose my temper in a minute, 
but it takes me a long time to keep it, and I think that 
if you were to subject my Scotch-Irish blood to the 
proper kind of analysis, you would find that it was 
fighting blood, and that it is pretty hard for a man 
bom that way to keep quiet and do things in the way 
in which his intelligence tells him he ought to do them. 
I know just as well as that I am standing here that I 
represent and am the servant of a Nation that loves 
peace, and that loves it upon the proper basis; loves it 
not because it is afraid of anybody ; loves it not because 
it does not understand and mean to maintain its rights, 
but because it knows that hiunanity is something in 
which we are all linked together, and that it behooves 
the United States, just as long as it is possible, to hold 
off from becoming involved in a strife which makes 
it all the more necessary that some part of the world 
should keep cool while all the rest of it is hot. Here in 
America, for the time being, are the spaces, the cool 
spaces, of thoughtf ulness, and so long as we are allowed 
to do so, we will serve and not contend with the rest 
of our fellow men. We are the more inclined to do 
this because the very principles upon which our Govern- 
ment is based are principles of common counsel and 
not of contest. 

So, my fellow citizens, I congratulate myself upon 
this opportunity, brief as it is, to give you my greetings 
and to convey to you my congratulations that the signs 
that surround us are aU signs of peace. 


In foreign affairs we have been guided by prin- 
ciples clearly conceived and consistently lived up to. 
Perhaps they have not been fully comprehended because 
they have hitherto governed international affairs only 
in theory, not in practice. They are simple, obvious, 
easily stated, and fundamental to American ideals. 

We have been neutral not only because it was the 
fixed and traditional policy of the United States to 
stand aloof from the politics of Europe and because 
we had had no part either of action or of policy in 
the influences which brought on the present war, but 
also because it was manifestly our duty to prevent, if 
it were possible, the indefinite extension of the fires of 
hate and desolation kindled by that terrible confiict and 
seek to serve mankind by reserving our strength and 
our resources for the anxious and difficult days of 
restoration and healing which must follow, when peace 
will have to build its house anew. 

The rights of our own citizens of course became 
involved : that was inevitable. Where they did this waa 
our guiding principle : that property rights can be vin- 
dicated by claims for damages when the war is over,, 
and no modem nation can decline to arbitrate such 
claims; but the fimdamental rights of humanity can- 

' Only that part of the speech is given which concerns international r^ 



not be. The loss of life is irreparable. Neither can 
direct violations of a nation's sovereignty await vindi- 
cation in suits for damages. The nation that violates 
these essential rights must expect to be checked and 
called to accoimt by direct challenge and resistance. 
It at once makes the quarrel in part our own. These 
are plain principles and we have never lost sight of 
them or departed from them, whatever the stress or the 
perplexity of circiunstance or the provocation to hasty 
resentment. The record is clear and consistent through- 
out and stands distinct and definite for anyone to judge 
who wishes to know the truth about it. 

The seas were not broad enough to keep the infec- 
tion of the conflict out of our own politics. The pas- 
sions and intrigues of certain active groups and com- 
binations of men amongst us who were born under for- 
eign flags injected the poison of disloyalty into our 
own most critical affairs, laid violent hands upon many 
of our industries, and subjected us to the shame of 
divisions of sentiment and purpose in which America 
was contemned and forgotten. It is part of the busi- 
ness of this year of reckoning and settlement to speak 
plainly and act with xmmistakable purpose in rebuke 
of these things, in order that they may be forever here- 
after impossible. I am the candidate of a party, but I 
am above all things else an American citizen. I neither 
seek the favor nor fear the displeasure of that small 
alien element amongst us which puts loyalty to any 
foreign power before loyalty to the United States. 

While Europe was at war our own continent, one of 
our own neighbors, was shaken by revolution. In that 


matter, too, principle was plain and it was imperative 
that we should live up to it if we were to deserve the 
trust of any real partisan of the right as free men see it. 
We have professed to believe, and we do believe, that 
the people of small and weak states have the right to 
expect to be dealt with exactly as the people of big and 
powerful states would be. We have acted upon that 
principle in dealing with the people of Mexico. 

Our recent pursuit of bandits into Mexican terri- 
tory was no violation of that principle. We ventured to 
enter Mexican territory only because there were no 
military forces in Mexico that could protect our border 
from hostile attack and our own people from violence, 
and we have committed there no single act of hostility 
or interference even with the sovereign authority of the 
Republic of Mexico herself. It was a plain case of the 
violation of our own sovereignty which could not wait 
to be vindicated by damages and for which there was no 
other remedy. The authorities of Mexico were power- 
less to prevent it. 

Many serious wrongs against the property, many 
irreparable wrongs against the persons, of Americans 
have been committed within the territory of Mexico 
herself during this confused revolution, wrongs which 
could not be effectually checked so long as there was 
no constituted power in Mexico which was in a position 
to check them. We could not act directly in that matter 
ourselves without denying Mexicans the right to any 
revolution at all which disturbed us and making the 
emancipation of her own people await our own interest 
and convenience. 




.virion that they are seeking, — 

■ "* ;is yet ineffectually, but with 

purpose and within their un- 

^ what true American principle 

,0 rhat an American would pub- 

^ oi Mexico have not been suffered 

,.:irry or direct their own institu- 

<:i out of other nations and with to their own, have dictated what 

u opportunities should be and who 

.v;r land, their lives, and their re- 

.Uoui Americans, pressing for things 

uive got in their own country. The 

;c entitled to attempt their liberty from 

.iikl so long as I have anything to do 

,;i of our great Government I shall do 

. n\- power to prevent anyone standing in 

\ xuow that this is hard for some persons 

..aL; but it is not hard for the plain people 

.. vNi States to understand. It is hard doctrine 

uvio who wish to get something for them- 

..; Moxico. There are men, and noble women, 

. ii^w, of our own people, thank God! whose 

av invested in great properties in Mexico 

>vv the case with true vision and assess its 

\\i\\\ true American feeling. The rest can 

lor the present out of the reckoning until 

iu-ilnvtul people has had its day of struggle 

. ^l> the light. I have heard no one who was 

noin such influences propose interference by 

I uitoil States with the internal affairs of Mexico. 

228 PRESIDi:^ 

not be. Tlio !'*• 
direct violation^ 
cation in suits ^ 
these essentia ^ "" 
called to n**'-.- 
It at oiK-o V 
are phiii? ^ 
them i)v '^-^ , 
res«^'nt»?:- ^ ' 
out ami 

f ■ - • 

?-'■■■ . >■ 

V ** 

V • 

\ * » 


Certainly no friend of the Mexican people has 
proposed it. 

The people of the United States are capable of great 
sympathies and a noble pity in dealing with problems 
of this kind. As their spokesman and representative, 
I have tried to act in the spirit they would wish me to 
show. The people of Mexico are striving for the rights 
that are fundamental to life and happiness, — ^fifteen 
million oppressed men, overburdened women, and piti- 
ful children in virtual bondage in their own home of 
fertile lands and inexhaustible treasure 1 Some of the 
leaders of the revolution may often have been mistaken 
and violent and selfish, but the revolution itself was 
inevitable and is right. The imspeakable Huerta be- 
trayed the very comrades he served, traitorously over- 
threw the government of which he was a trusted part, 
impudently spoke for the very forces that had driven 
his people to the rebellion with which he had pretended 
to sympathize. The men who overcame him and drove 
him out represent at least the fierce passion of recon- 
struction which lies at the very heart of liberty; and 
so long as they represent, however imperfectly, such a 
struggle for deliverance, I am ready to serve their ends 
when I can. So long as the power of recognition rests 
with me the Government of the United States will refuse 
to extend the hand of welcome to anyone who obtains 
power in a sister republic by treachery and violence. 
No permanency can be given the affairs of any republic 
by a title based upon intrigue and assassination. I de- 
clared that to be the policy of this Administration 
within three weeks after I assumed the presidency. I 


here again vow it. I am more interested in the for- 
tunes of oppressed men and pitiful women and children 
than in any property rights whatever. Mistakes I have 
no doubt made in this perplexing business, but not in 
purpose or object. 

More is involved than the immediate destinies of 
Mexico and the relations of the United States with a 
distressed and distracted people. All America looks on. 
Test is now being made of us whether we be sincere 
lovers of popular liberty or not and are indeed to be 
trusted to respect national sovereignty among our 
weaker neighbors. We have undertaken these many 
years to play big brother to the republics of this hemi- 
sphere. This is the day of our test whether we mean, 
or have ever meant, to play that part for our own 
benefit wholly or also for theirs. Upon the outcome of 
that test (its outcome in their minds, not in ours) 
depends every relationship of the United States with 
Latin America, whether in politics or in commerce and 
enterprise. These are great issues and lie at the heart 
of the gravest tasks of the future, tasks both economic 
and political and very intimately inwrought with many 
of the most vital of the new issues of the politics of the 
world. The republics of America have in the last 
three years been drawing together in a new spirit 
of accommodation, mutual understanding, and cor- 
dial co-operation. Much of the politics of the 
world in the years to come will depend upon their 
relationships with one another. It is a barren and 
provincial statesmanship that loses sight of such 
things I 


The future, the immediate future, will bring us 
squarely face to face with many great and exacting 
problems which will search us through and through 
whether we be able and ready to play the part in the 
world that we mean to play. It will not bring us into 
their presence slowly, gently, with ceremonious intro- 
duction, but suddenly and at once, the moment the war 
in Europe is over. They will be new problems, most 
of them; many will be old problems in a new setting 
and with new elements which we have never dealt with 
or reckoned the force and meaning of before. They will 
require for their solution new thinking, fresh courage 
and resourcefulness, and in some matters radical recon- 
siderations of policy. We must be ready to mobilize 
our resources alike of brains and of materials. 

It is not a future to be afraid of. It is, rather, a 
future to stimulate and excite us to the display of the 
best powers that are in us. We may enter it with con- 
fidence when we are sure that we understand it, — ^and 
we have provided ourselves already with the means of 
understanding it. 

Look first at what it will be necessary that the nations 
of the world should do to make the days to come toler- 
able and fit to live and work in; and then look at our 
part in what is to follow and our own duty of prepara- 
tion. For we must be prepared both in resources and 
in policy. 

There must be a just and settled peace, and we here 
in America must contribute the full force of our en- 
thusiasm and of our authority as a nation to the organi- 
zation of that peace upon world-wide foundations that 


cannot easily be shaken. No nation should be forced 
to take sides in any quarrel in which its own honor and 
integrity and the fortunes of its own people are not 
involved; but no nation can any longer remain neutral 
as against any willful disturbance of the peace of the 
world. The effects of war can no longer be confined to 
the areas of battle. No nation stands wholly apart in 
interest when the life and interests of all nations are 
thrown into confusion and peril. If hopeful and gen- 
erous enterprise is to be renewed, if the healing and 
helpful arts of Uf e are indeed to be revived when peace 
comes again, a new atmosphere of justice and friendship 
must be generated by means the world has never tried 
before. The nations of the world must imite in joint 
guarantees that whatever is done to disturb the whole 
world's life must first be tested in the court of the 
whole world's opinion before it is attempted. 

These are the new foundations the world must build 
for itself, and we must play our part in the reconstruc- 
tion, generously and without too much thought of our 
separate interests. We must make ourselves ready to 
play it intelligently, vigorously and well. 

One of the contributions we must make to the world's 
peace is this: We must see to it that the people in our 
insular possessions are treated in their own lands as 
we would treat them here, and make the rule of the 
United States mean the same thing everywhere, — ^the 
same justice, the same consideration for the essential 
rights of men. . . ... 


President Wilson's preoccupation from the outbreak of the European War 
on August 1, 1814, to April 6, 1917, was two-fold; first, to bring this war to a 
conclusion in the interest of our common humanity; second, to maintain peace- 
ful relations between the United States, on the one hand, and the belligerents, 
on the other. In pursuance of these purposes, he addressed the following mes- 
sage to the nations at war, under date of August 5, 1914: ''As official head of 
one of the powers signatory to The Hague Convention, I feel it to be my privilege 
and my duty, under Article 3 of that Convention, to say to you in a spirit of 
most earnest friendship that I should welcome the opportunity to act in the 
interest of European peace, either now or at any other time that might be thought 
more suitable, as an occasion to serve you and all concerned in a way that would 
afford me lasting cause for gratitude and happiness." 

These overtures were not accepted and apparently no encouragement offered 
for their future presentation. President Wilson's action in this matter, however, 
was then and later, in his more formal offer, in strict accordance with Article 3 
of The Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, 
to which all the belligerent and neutral powers are contracting parties. This 
article is so important that the material portion of it is quoted: "Powers, 
strangers to the dispute, have the right to offer good offices or mediation, even 
during the course of hostilities. 

'* The exercise of this right can never be regarded by one or the other of the 
parties in conflict as an unfriendly act." 

On December 12, 1916, the Imperial German Government addressed a note to 
all the neutral powers and to the Vatican, proposing "to enter forthwith into 
peace negotiations" with the Allied Powers, and asking the neutral powers to 
Ivring this communication to the notice of the belligerent governments. Terms 
were not stated, but were apparently reserved, to be laid before a conference of 
the belligerents when it should meet. A separate statement at the same time was 
ma^ by the Government of Austria-Hungary, although Germany acted for its 
allies, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. On December 18th President 
Wilson directed the Secretary of State to transmit to the Imperial German Gov- 
ernment and its allies and to all neutral governments, for their information, a 
request that the belligerents thus addressed should make more definite proposals. 
On the same day a communication was addressed to the Allied Powers and to all 
neutral governments, for their information, requesting a specific statement of 
the terms upon which they would agree to consider the conclusion of peace, in 
order that, by this exchange of views, a basis might be found for negotiotions. 
The belligerent governments answered the request, the Allies stating specific 



terms, whereas Germany and its allies, while commending the ''noble initiatiye 
of the President," refused to state terms to the President, while declaring them- 
selves ready to enter into direct negotiations with the belligerents. Thus: 

'' A direct exchange of views appears to the Imperial' Government as the 
most suitable way of arriving at the desired result. . . . 

" It is also the view of the Imperial Government that the great work for 
the prevention of future wars can first be taken up only after the ending of the 
present conflict of exhaustion." 

The Secbetaby of State to Ambassadob Gebabd^ 

Depabtment of State, 
Washington, December 18, 1916. 
The President directs me to send you the following 
conmiiinication to be presented immediately to the Min- 
ister of Foreign Affairs of the Government to which 
you are accredited: 

"The President of the United States has instructed 
me to suggest to the Imperial German Government a 
course of action with regard to the present war which 
he hopes that the Imperial Government will take under 
consideration as suggested in the most friendly spirit 
and as coming not only from a friend but also as coming 
from the representative of a neutral nation whose inter- 
ests have been most seriously affected by the war and 
whose concern for its early conclusion arises out of a 
manifest necessity to determine how best to safeguard 
those interests if the war is to continue. 

"The suggestion which I am instructed to make the 
President has long had it in mind to offer. He is some- 
what embarrassed to offer it at this particular time 
because it may now seem to have been prompted by a 
desire to play a part in connection with the recent 
overtures of the Central Powers. It has in fact been in 

* Same, mutatis mutandis, to the American Diplomatic RepresentatiTea 
accredited to the Governments of Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria, and 
to all neutral Qovemments for their information. 


no way suggested by them in its origin and the Presi- 
dent would have delayed offering it until those overtures 
had been independently answered but for the fact that 
it also concerns the question of peace and may best be 
considered in connection with other proposals which 
have the same end in view. The President can only 
beg that his suggestion be considered entirely on its 
own merits and as if it had been made in other cir- 

"The President suggests that an early occasion be 
sought to call out from all the nations now at war such 
an avowal of their respective views as to the terms upon 
which the war might be concluded and the arrangements 
which would be deemed satisfactory as a guaranty 
against its renewal or the kindling of any similar con- 
flict in the future as would make it possible frankly to 
compare them. He is indifferent as to the means taken 
to accomplish this. He would be happy himself to serve, 
or even to take the initiative in its accomplishment, in 
any way that might prove acceptable, but he has no 
desire to determine the method or the instrumentality. 
One way will be as acceptable to him as another if only 
the great object he has in mind be attained. 

"He takes the liberty of calling attention to the fact 
that the objects which the statesmen of the belligerents 
on both sides have in mind in this war are virtually the 
same, as stated in general terms to their own people and 
to the world. Each side desires to make the rights and 
privileges of weak peoples and small states as secure 
against aggression or denial in the future as the rights 
and privileges of the great and powerful states now at 
war. Each wishes itself to be made secure in the future, 
along with all other nations and peoples, against the 
recurrence of wars like this, and against aggression of 
selfish interference of any kind. Each would be jealous 


of the formation of any more rival leagues to preserve 
an uncertain balance of power amidst multiplying sus- 
picions; but each is ready to consider the formation of 
a league of nations to insure peace and justice through- 
out the world. Before that final step can be taken^ 
however, each deems it necessary first to settle the issues 
of the present war upon terms which will certainly safe- 
guard the independence, the territorial integrity, and 
the political and commercial freedom of the nations 

**In the measures to be taken to secure the future 
peace of the world the people and Government of the 
United States are as vitally and as directly interested 
as the Governments now at war. Their interest, more- 
over, in the means to be adopted to relieve the smaller 
and weaker peoples of the world of the peril of wrong 
and violence is as quick and ardent as that of any other 
people or Government. They stand ready, and even 
eager, to co-operate in the accomplishment of these 
ends, when the war is over, with every influence and 
resource at their command. But the war must first be 
concluded. The terms upon which it is to be concluded 
they are not at liberty to suggest; but the President 
does feel that it is his right and his duty to point out 
their intimate interest in its conclusion, lest it should 
presently be too late to accomplish the greater things 
which lie beyond its conclusion, lest the situation of neu- 
tral nations, now exceedingly hard to endure, be ren- 
dered altogether intolerable, and lest, more than all, an 
injury be done civilization itself which can never be 
atoned for or repaired. 

**The President therefore feels altogether justified in 
suggesting an immediate opportunity for a comparison 
of views as to the terms which must precede those ulti- 
mate arrangements for the peace of the world, which 


all desire and in which the neutral nations as well as 
those at war are ready to play their full responsible 
part. If the contest must continue to proceed towards 
undefined ends by slow attrition until the one group of 
belligerents or the other is exhausted, if million after 
million of hmnan lives must continue to be offered up 
until on the one side or the other there are no more 
to offer, if resentments must be kindled that can never 
cool and despairs engendered from which there can be 
no recovery, hopes of peace and of the willing concert 
of free peoples wiU be rendered vain and idle. 

**The life of the entire world has been profoundly 
affected. Every part of the great family of mankind 
has felt the burden and terror of this unprecedented 
contest of arms. No nation in the civilized world can 
be said in truth to stand outside its influence or to be 
safe against its disturbing effects. And yet the concrete 
objects for which it is being waged have never been 
definitely stated. 

**The leaders of the several belligerents have, as has 
been said, stated those objects in general terms. But, 
stated in general terms, they seem the same on both 
sides. Never yet have the authoritative spokesmen of 
either side avowed the precise objects which would, if 
attained, satisfy them and their people that the war had 
been fought out. The world has been left to conjecture 
what definitive results, what actual exchange of guaran- 
ties, what political or territorial changes or readjust- 
ments, what stage of miUtary success even, would bring 
the war to an end. 

"It may be that peace is nearer than we know; that 
the terms which the belligerents on the one side and on 
the other would deem it necessary to insist upon are not 
so irreconcilable as some have feared; that an inter- 
change of views would clear the way at least for confer- 


ence and make the permanent concord of the nations a 
hope of the immediate future, a concert of nations 
immediately practicable. 

**The President is not proposing peace; he is not 
even offering mediation. He is merely proposing that 
soimdings be taken in order that we may learn, the 
neutral nations with the belligerent, how near the haven 
of peace may be for which all mankind longs with an 
intense and increasing longing. He believes that the 
spirit in which he speaks and the objects which he seeks 
will be understood by all concerned, and he confidently 
hopes for a response which will bring a new light into 
the affairs of the world.'' 


suggestion to the entente allies that terms of peace be 


The Secretary of State to Ambassador Page ^ 

Department op State, 
Washington, December 18, 1916. 

The President directs me to send you the following 
communication to be presented immediately to the Min- 
ister of Foreign Affairs of the Government to which 
you are accredited: 

**The President of the United States has instructed 
me to suggest to His Majesty's Government a course of 
action with regard to the present war which he hopes 
that the British Government will take under considera- 

^ Same, mutatis mutandis, to the American Diplomatic Representatives 
accredited to the Governments of France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Belgium, 
Montenefrro, Portu^l, Roumania, and Servia, and to all neutral Governments 
for their information. 


**He takes the liberty of calling attention to the fact 
that the objects which the statesmen of the belligerents 
on both sides have in mind in this war are virtually the 
same^ as stated in general terms to their own people and 
to the world. Each side desires to make the rights and 
privileges of weak peoples and small States as secure 
against aggression or denial in the future as the rights 
and privileges of the great and powerful States now at 
war. Each wishes itself to be made secure in the future, 
along with all other nations and peoples, against the 
recurrence of wars like this and against aggression of 
selfish interference of any kind. Each would be jealous 
of the formation of any more rival leagues to preserve 
an uncertain balance of power amidst multiplying sus- 
picions; but each is ready to consider the formation of 
a league of nations to insure peace and justice through- 
out the world. Before that final step can be taken, 
however, each deems it necessary first to settle the issues 
of the present war upon terms which will certainly safe- 
guard the independence, the territorial integrity, and 
the political and commercial freedom of the nations 

**In the measures to be taken to secure the future 
peace of the world the people and Government of the 
United States are as vitally and as directly interested 
as the Governments now at war. Their interest, more- 
over, in the means to be adopted to relieve the smaller 
and weaker peoples of the world of the peril of wrong 
and violence is as quick and ardent as that of any other 
people or Government. They stand ready, and even 
eager, to co-operate in the accomplishment of these 
ends, when the war is over, with every influence and 
resource at their command. But the war must first be 
concluded. The terms upon which it is to be concluded 
they are not at liberty to suggest; but the President 


does feel that it is his right and his duty to point out 
their intimate interest in its conclusion, lest it should 
presently be too late to accomplish the greater things 
which lie beyond its conclusion, lest the situation of neu- 
tral nations, now exceedingly hard to endure, be ren- 
dered altogether intolerable, and lest, more than all, an 
injury be done civilization itself which can never be 
atoned for or repaired. 

**The President therefore feels altogether justified in 
suggesting an immediate opportunity for a comparison 
of views as to the terms which must precede those ulti- 
mate arrangements for the peace of the world, which 
all desire and in which the neutral nations as well as 
those at war are ready to play their full responsible 
part. If the contest must continue to proceed towards 
undefined ends by slow attrition until the one group of 
belligerents or the other is exhausted, if million after 
million of hmnan lives must continue to be offered up 
until on the one side or the other there are no more 
to offer, if resentments must be kindled that can never 
cool and despairs engendered from which there can be 
no recovery, hopes of peace and of the willing concert 
of free peoples will be rendered vain and idle. 

**The life of the entire world has been profoundly 
affected. Every part of the great family of mankind 
has felt the burden and terror of this unprecedented 
contest of arms. No nation in the civilized world can 
be said in truth to stand outside its influence or to be 
safe against its disturbing effects. And yet the concrete 
objects for which it is being waged have never been 
definitely stated. 

**The leaders of the several belligerents have, as has 
been said, stated those objects in general terms. But, 
stated in general terms, they seem the same on both 
sides. Never yet have the authoritative spokesmen of 


either side avowed the precise objects which would, if 
attained, satisfy them and their people that the war had 
been fought out. The world has been left to conjecture 
what definitive results, what actual exchange of guaran- 
tees, what political or territorial changes or readjust- 
ments, what stage of military success even, would bring 
the war to an end. 

**It may be that peace is nearer than we know; that 
the terms which the belligerents on the one side and on 
the other would deem it necessary to insist upon are not 
so irreconcilable as some have feared; that an inter- 
change of views would clear the way at least for confer- 
ence and make the permanent concord of the nations a 
hope of the immediate future, a concert of nations 
immediately practicable. 

**The President is not proposing peace; he is not 
even offering mediation. He is merely proposing that 
soundings be taken in order that we may learn, the 
neutral nations with the belligerent, how near the haven 
of peace may be for which all mankind longs with an 
intense and increasing longing. He believes that the 
spirit in which he speaks and the objects which he seeks 
will be imderstood by all concerned, and he confidently 
hopes for a response which will bring a new light into 
the affairs of the world.'' 



JANUARY 22, 1917 

In the Presidency of Washington and of Adams it was the custom of the 
President to repair to the Congress to read in person his messages, which were 
therefore addresses to the Ck)ngress by the President. President Jefferson 
conceived it to be more democratic and in keeping with the position of the 
President to send, rather than to deliver in person, his messages; and his 
successors followed his initiative, which seemed to have become both a prece- 
dent and a custom. President Wilson, however, returned to the practice of 
the Fathers with his address to the Ck)ngress on Mexican affairs, August 27, 
1913, and each succeeding message of importance has been delivered by him 
in person, whether it be special or whether it be annual. 

The Senate of the United States was, in foreign affairs, meant to be an ad- 
visory as well as a controlling body, controlling in the sense that all treaties and 
conventions negotiated with the President are mere proposals until their rati- 
fication has been advised and consented to by two-thirds of the Senators present 
at the time of the vote taken upon their disposition. President Washington 
was wont to consult in person the Senate, and President Wilson revived this 
custom by the address under consideration. 

Gentlemen of the Senate: 

On the eighteenth of December last I addressed an 
identic note to the governments of the nations now at 
war requesting them to state, more definitely than they 
had yet been stated by either group of belligerents, the 
terms upon which they would deem it possible to make 
peace. I spoke on behalf of humanity and of the rights 
of all neutral nations like our own, many of whose most 
vital interests the war puts in constant jeopardy. The 
Central Powers united in a reply which stated merely 
that they were ready to meet their antagonists in con- 
ference to discuss terms of peace. The Entente Powers 
have replied much more definitely and have stated, in 
general terms, indeed, but with sufficient definiteness to 



imply details, the arrangements, guarantees, and acts 
of reparation which they deem to be the indispensable 
conditions of a satisfactory settlement. We are that 
much nearer a definite discussion of the peace which 
shall end the present war. We are that much nearer 
the discussion of the international concert which must 
thereafter hold the world at peace. In every discussion 
of the peace that must end this war it is taken for 
granted that that peace must be followed by some defi- 
nite concert of power which will make it virtually 
impossible that any such catastrophe should ever over- 
whelm us again. Every lover of mankind, every sane 
and thoughtful man must take that for granted. 

I have sought this opportunity to address you be- 
cause I thought that I owed it to you, as the council 
associated with me in the final determination of our 
international obligations, to disclose to you without 
reserve the thought and purpose that have been taking 
form in my mind in regard to the duty of our Govern- 
ment in the days to come when it will be necessary to 
lay afresh and upon a new plan the foundations of 
peace among the nations- 
It is inconceivable that the people of the United 
States should play no part in that great enterprise. 
To take part in such a service will be the opportunity 
for which they have sought to prepare themselves by the 
very principles and purposes of their poUty and the 
approved practices of their Government ever since the 
days when they set up a new nation in the high and 
honorable hope that it might in all that it was and did 
show mankind the way to liberty. They cannot in 


honor withhold the service to which they are now about 
to be challenged. They do not wish to withhold it. But 
they owe it to themselves and to the other nations of 
the world to state the conditions under which they will 
feel free to render it. 

That service is nothing less than this, to add their 
authority and their power to the authority and force 
of other nations to guarantee peace and justice through- 
out the world. Such a settlement cannot now be long 
postponed. It is right that before it comes this Govern- 
ment should frankly formulate the conditions upon 
which it would feel justified in asking our people to 
approve its formal and solemn adherence to a League 
for Peace. I am here to attempt to state those con- 

The present war must first be ended; but we owe it 
io candor and to a just regard for the opinion of man- 
kind to say that, so far as our participation in guaran- 
tees of future peace is concerned, it makes a great deal 
of difference in what way and upon what terms it is 
^nded. The treaties and agreements which bring it to 
an end must embody terms which will create a peace 
that is worth guaranteeing and preserving, a peace that 
will win the approval of mankind, not merely a peace 
that will serve the several interests and immediate aims 
of the nations engaged. We shall have no voice in 
determining what those terms shall be, but we shall, I 
feel sure, have a voice in determining whether they 
shall be made lasting or not by the guarantees of a 
universal covenant; and our judgment upon what is 
fundamental and essential as a condition precedent to 


permanency should be spoken now, not afterwards when 
it may be too late. 

No covenant of co-operative peace that does not 
include the peoples of the New World can sufl&ce to 
keep the future safe against war; and yet there is only 
one sort of peace that the peoples of America could join 
in guaranteeing. The elements of that peace must be 
elements that engage the confidence and satisfy the prin- 
ciples of the American governments, elements consistent 
with their political faith and with the practical convic- 
tions which the peoples of America have once for all 
embraced and undertaken to defend. 

I do not mean to say that any American government 
would throw any obstacle in the way of any terms of 
peace the governments now at war might agree upon, 
or seek to upset them when made, whatever they might 
be. I only take it for granted that mere terms of peace 
between the belligerents will not satisfy even the bellig- 
erents themselves. Mere agreements may not make 
peace secure. It will be absolutely necessary that a 
force be created as a guarantor of the permanency of 
the settlement so much greater than the force of any 
nation now engaged or any alliance hitherto formed or 
projected that no nation, no probable combination of 
nations could face or withstand it. If the peace pres- 
ently to be made is to endure, it must be a peace made 
secure by the organized major force of mankind. 

The terms of the immediate peace agreed upon will 
determine whether it is a peace for which such a guar- 
antee can be secured. The question upon which the 
whole future peace and policy of the world depends is 


this : Is the present war a struggle for a just and secure 
peace, or only for a new balance of power? If it be 
only a struggle for a new balance of power, who will 
guarantee, who can guarantee, the stable equilibrium of 
the new arrangement? Only a tranquil Europe can be 
a stable Europe. There must be, not a balance of power, 
but a community of power ; not organized rivalries, but 
an organized common peace. 

Fortunately we have received very explicit assur- 
ances on this point. The statesmen of both of the groups 
of nations now arrayed against one another have said, 
in terms that could not be misinterpreted, that it was 
no part of the purpose they had in mind to crush their 
antagonists. But the implications of these assurances 
may not be equally clear to all, — ^may not be the same 
on both sides of the water. I think it will be service- 
able if I attempt to set forth what we understand them 
to be. 

They imply, first of all, that it must be a peace with- 
out victory. It is not pleasant to say this. I beg that 
I may be permitted to put my own interpretation upon 
it and that it may be imderstood that no other inter- 
pretation was in my thought. I am seeking only to 
face realities and to face them without soft conceal- 
ments. Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, 
a victor's terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would 
be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intoler- 
able sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a 
bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, 
not permanently, but only as upon quicksand. Only a 
peace between equals can last. Only a peace the very 


principle of which is equality and a common participa- 
tion in a common benefit. The right state of mind, the 
right feeling between nations, is as necessary for a last- 
ing peace as is the just settlement of vexed questions of 
territory or of racial and national allegiance. 

The equality of nations upon which peace must be 
founded if it is to last must be an equality of rights; 
the guarantees exchanged must neither recognize nor 
imply a difference between big nations and small, be- 
tween those that are powerful and those that are weak. 
Right must be based upon the common strength, not 
upon the individual strength, of the nations upon whose 
concert peace wiU depend. EquaHty of territory or of 
resources there of course cannot be ; nor any other sort 
of equality not gained in the ordinary peaceful and 
legitimate development of the peoples themselves. But 
no one asks or expects anything more than an equality 
of rights. Mankind is looking now for freedom of life, 
not for equipoises of power. 

And there is a deeper thing involved than even 
equality of right among organized nations. No peace 
can last, or ought to last, which does not recognize and 
accept the principle that governments derive all their 
just powers from the consent of the governed, and that 
no right anywhere exists to hand peoples about from 
sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were property. I 
take it for granted, for instance, if I may venture upon 
a single example, that statesmen everywhere are agreed 
that there should be a united, independent, and auton- 
omous Poland, and that henceforth inviolable security 
of life, of worship, and of industrial and social devel- 


what radical reconsideration of many of the rules of 
international practice hitherto thought to be established 
may be necessary in order to make the seas indeed free 
and common in practically all circumstances for the use 
of mankind, but the motive for such changes is con- 
vincing and compelling. There can be no trust or 
intimacy between the peoples of the world without them. 
The free, constant, unthreatened intercourse of nations 
is an essential part of the process of peace and of devel- 
opment. It need not be difficult either to define or to 
secure the freedom of the seas if the governments of 
the world sincerely desire to come to an agreement con- 
cerning it. 

It is a problem closely connected with the limitation 
of naval armaments and the co-operation of the navies 
of the world in keeping the seas at once free and safe. 
And the question of limiting naval armaments opens the 
wider and perhaps more difficult question of the limi- 
tation of armies and of all programs of miUtary prep- 
aration. Difficult and delicate as these questions are, 
they must be faced with the utmost candor and decided 
in a spirit of real accommodation if peace is to come 
with healing in its wings, and come to stay. Peace can- 
not be had without concession and sacrifice. There can 
be no sense of safety and equality among the nations if 
great preponderating armaments are henceforth to con- 
tinue here and there to be built up and maintained. 
The statesmen of the world must plan for peace and 
nations must adjust and accommodate their policy to 
it as they have planned for war and made ready for 
pitiless contest and rivalry. The question of armaments. 


whether on land or sea, is the most immediately and 
intensely practical question connected with the future 
fortunes of nations and of mankind. 

I have spoken upon these great matters without 
reserve and with the utmost explicitness because it has 
seemed to me to be necessary if the world's yearning 
desire for peace was anywhere to find free voice and 
utterance. Perhaps I am the only person in high 
authority amongst all the peoples of the world who is 
at liberty to speak and hold nothing back. I am speak- 
ing as an individual, and yet I am speaking also, of 
course, as the responsible head of a great government, 
and I feel confident that I have said what the people 
of the United States would wish me to say. May I not 
add that I hope and believe that I am in effect speak- 
ing for liberals and friends of humanity in every nation 
and of every program of liberty? I would fain believe 
that I am speaking for the silent mass of mankind 
everywhere who have as yet had no place or opportunity 
to speak their real hearts out concerning the death and 
ruin they see to have come already upon the persons 
and the homes they hold most dear. 

And in holding out the expectation that the people 
and Government of the United States will join the other 
civilized nations of the world in guaranteeing the per- 
manence of peace upon such terms as I have named I 
speak with the greater boldness and confidence because 
it is clear to every man who can think that there is in 
this promise no breach in either our traditions or our 
policy as a nation, but a fulfillment, rather, of all that 
we have professed or striven for. 


-._:$,, AS it were, that the nations should 

. ...l-.)l.»t the doctrine of President Monroe 

. ■ Lie world : that no nation should seek 

. '.tv over any other nation or people, but 

. .0 should be left free to determine its 
> own way of development, unhindered, 

auifraid, the little along with the great 


:v't'v^njt that all nations henceforth avoid 

^iuui^*es which would draw them into com- 

. . A^wor, catch them in a net of intrigue and 

,x wlrv. Hud disturb their own affairs with influ- 

:.,iuui\l from without. There is no entangling 

., li .1 vvncert of power. When all unite to act 

\ vLiiio ist^nse and with the same purpose all act 

^, oaimon interest and are free to live their own 

. . .;.vicv » common protection. 

,ia luvposing government by the consent of the 

. , , Liv\i ; that freedom of the seas which in inter- 

.. ;.a! v\nUVrence after conference representatives of 

^ ; Ml tod States have urged with the eloquence of 

Nov ^^^u* rt^^ ^^^ convinced disciples of liberty; and 

u,, uKKloration of armaments which makes of armies 

, ,^; luiNios a power for order merely, not an instru- 

,.xJii ^*f aggression or of selfish violence. 

rt\\\^t^ are American principles, American policies. 
v\ V o\MiUl stand for no others. And they are also the 
\»MMoivl^*S5 ^^d policies of forward looking men and 
vw'iuon everywhere, of every modem nation, of every 
v4»l\>jhtoued community. They are the principles of 
\iK(ukind and must prevail. 


8, 1917 

Gentlemen of the Congress: 

The Imperial German Govermnent on the thirty- 
first of January annoimced to this Government and to 
the governments of the other neutral nations that on 
and after the first day of February, the present month, 
it would adopt a policy with regard to the use of sub- 
marines against all shipping seeking to pass through 
certain designated areas of the high seas to which it is 
clearly my duty to call your attention. 

Let me remind the Congress that on the eighteenth 
of April last, in view of the sinking on the twenty- 
fourth of March of the cross-channel passenger steamer 
Sussex by a German submarine, without sinnmons or 
warning, and the consequent loss of the lives of sev- 
eral citizens of the United States who were passengers 
aboard her, this Government addressed a note to the 
Imperial German Government in which it made the 
following declaration: 

**If it is still the purpose of the Imperial Govern- 
ment to prosecute relentless and indiscriminate warfare 



against vessels of commerce by the use of submarines 
without regard to what the Government of the United 
States must consider the sacred and indisputable rules 
of international law and the universally recognized dic- 
tates of humanity, the Government of the United States 
is at last forced to the conclusion that there is but one 
course it can pursue. Unless the Imperial Government 
should now immediately declare and effect an abandon- 
ment of its present methods of submarine warfare 
against passenger and freight-carrying vessels, the Gt)v- 
ernment of the United States can have no choice but 
to sever diplomatic relations with the German Empire 

In reply to this declaration the Imperial German 
Government gave this Government the following assur- 

"The German Government is prepared to do its 
utmost to confine the operations of war for the rest of 
its duration to the fighting forces of the belligerents, 
thereby also insuring the freedom of the seas, a prin- 
ciple upon which the German Government believes, now 
as before, to be in agreement with the Government of 
the United States. 

"The German Government, guided by this idea, 
notifies the Government of the United States that the 
German naval forces have received the following orders : 
In accordance with the general principles of visit and 
search and destruction of merchant vessels recognized 
by international law, such vessels, both within and with- 
out the area declared as naval war zone, shall not be 
sunk without warning and without saving human lives, 
unless these ships attempt to escape or offer resistance. 

"But,'' it added, "neutrals cannot expect that Ger- 
many, forced to fight for her existence, shall, for the 


sake of neutral interest, restrict the use of an effective 
weapon if her enemy is permitted to continue to apply 
at will methods of warfare violating the rules of inter- 
national law. Such a demand would be incompatible 
with the character of neutrality, and the German Gov- 
ernment is convinced that the Government of the United 
States does not think of making such a demand, know- 
ing that the Government of the United States has 
repeatedly declared that it is determined to restore the 
principle of the freedom of the seas, from whatever 
quarter it has been violated/' 

To this the Government of the United States replied 
on the eighth of May, accepting, of course, the assur- 
ances given, but adding, 

**The Government of the United States feels it 
necessary to state that it takes it for granted that the 
Imperial German Government does not intend to imply 
that the maintenance of its newly announced policy is 
in any way contingent upon the course or result of 
diplomatic negotiations between the Government of the 
United States and any other belligerent Government, 
notwithstanding the fact that certain passages in the 
Imperial Government's note of the 4th instant might 
appear to be susceptible of that construction. In order, 
however, to avoid any possible misunderstanding, the 
Government of the United States notifies the Imperial 
Government that it cannot for a moment entertain, much 
less discuss, a suggestion that respect by German naval 
authorities for the rights of citizens of the United States 
upon the high seas should in any way or in the slightest 
degree be made contingent upon the conduct of any 
other Government affecting the rights of neutrals and 
noncombatants. Responsibility in such matters is sin- 
gle, not joint; absolute, not relative/' 


To this note of the eighth of May the Imperial Ger- 
man Government made no reply. 

On the thirty-first of January, the Wednesday of 
the present week, the German Ambassador handed to the 
Secretary of State, along with a formal note, a memo- 
randum which contains the following statement: 

**The Imperial Government, therefore, does not 
doubt that the Government of the United States will 
understand the situation thus forced upon Germany 
by the Entente- Allies' brutal methods of war and by 
their determination to destroy the Central Powers, and 
that the Government of the United States will further 
realize that the now openly disclosed intentions of the 
Entente-Allies give back to Germany the freedom of 
action which she reserved in her note addressed to the 
Government of the United States on May 4, 1916. 

** Under these circumstances Germany will meet the 
illegal measures of her enemies by forcibly preventing 
after February 1, 1917, in a zone around Great Britain, 
France, Italy, and in the Eastern Mediterranean all 
navigation, that of neutrals included, from and to Eng- 
land and from and to France, etc., etc. All ships met 
within the zone will be sunk.'' 

I think that you will agree with me that, in view 
of this declaration, which suddenly and without prior 
intimation of any kind deliberately withdraws the 
solemn assurance given in the Imperial Government's 
note of the fourth of May, 1916, this Government has 
no alternative consistent with the dignity and honor 
of the United States but to take the course which, in 
its note of the eighteenth of April, 1916, it announced 
that it would take in the event that the German Govern- 


ment did not declare and effect an abandonment of the 
methods of submarine warfare which it was then em- 
ploying and to which it now purposes again to resort. 

I have, therefore, directed the Secretary of State to 
announce to His Excellency the German Ambassador 
that all diplomatic relations between the United States 
and the German Empire are severed, and that the 
American Ambassador at Berlin will immediately be 
withdrawn; and, in accordance with this decision, to 
hand to His Excellency his passports. 

Notwithstanding this unexpected action of the Ger- 
man Government, this sudden and deeply deplorable 
renunciation of its assurances, given this Government at 
one of the most critical moments of tension in the rela- 
tions of the two governments, I refuse to believe that 
it is the intention of the German authorities to do in 
fact what they have warned us they will feel at liberty 
to do. I cannot bring myself to believe that they will 
indeed pay no regard to the ancient friendship between 
their people and our own or to the solemn obligations 
which have been exchanged between them and destroy 
American ships and take the lives of American citizens 
in the willful prosecution of the ruthless naval program 
they have announced their intention to adopt. Only 
actual overt acts on their part can make me believe it 
even now. 

If this inveterate confidence on my part in the 
sobriety and prudent foresight of their purpose should 
unhappily prove unfounded; if American ships and 
American lives should in fact be sacrificed by their naval 
commanders in heedless contravention of the just and 


reasonable understandiiigs of interiiatioiial law and the 
obvious dictates of humanity, I shall take the liberty of 
coming again before the Congress, to ask that authority 
be given me to use any means that may be necessary 
for the protection of our seamen and our people in the 
prosecution of their peaceful and legitimate errands on 
the high seas. I can do nothing less. I take it for 
granted that all neutral governments will take the same 

We do not desire any hostile conflict with the Im- 
perial German Government. We are the sincere friends 
of the German people and earnestly desire to remain 
at peace with the Government which speaks for them. 
We shaU not believe that they are hostile to us unless 
and until we are obliged to believe it; and we purpose 
nothing more than the reasonable defense of the un- 
doubted rights of our people. We wish to serve no 
selfish ends. We seek merely to stand true alike in 
thought and in action to the immemorial principles of 
our people which I sought to express in my address to 
the Senate only two weeks ago, — seek merely to vindi- 
cate our right to liberty and justice and an unmolested 
life. These are the bases of peace, not war. God grant 
we may not be challenged to defend them by acts of 
willful injustice on the part of the Government of 
Germany 1 




FEBRUARY 26, 1917 

In the following address President Wilson evidently still hoped that some 
form of defensive action on the part of the United States would cause the 
Imperial German Government to reflect and to mend its ways before war actually 
broke out between the two countries. President Wilson apparently had in mind 
the armed neutrality of 1780 and 1800 and the action of the United States 
against France in President Adams' administration, by which American mer- 
chantmen were armed to defend themselves against attack of French cruisers 
unlawfully overhauling and capturing American vessels upon the high seas. 

In accordance with American precedent and with the conclusion reached by 
the President in his address imder consideration. Secretary of State Lansing gave 
to the press the following statement on March 12, 1017: 

"The Department of State has to-4ay sent the following statement to all 
foreign missions in Washington for their information: 

"In view of the announcement of the Imperial German Government on 
January 31, 1017, that all ships, those of neutrals included, met within certain 
zones of the high seas, would be sunk without any precautions being taken for 
the safety of the persons on board, and without the exercise of visit and search, 
the Government of the United States has determined to place upon all American 
merchant vessels sailing through the barred areas an armed guard for the pro- 
tection of the vessels and the lives of the persons on board." 

Gentlemen of the Congress: 

I have again asked the privilege of addressing you 
because we are moving through critical times during 
which it seems to me to be my duty to keep in close 
touch with the Houses of Congress, so that neither coun- 
sel nor action shall run at cross purposes between us. 

On the third of February I oflScially informed you of 
the sudden and unexpected action of the Imperial Ger- 
man Government in declaring its intention to disregard 
the promises it had made to this Government in April 
last and undertake immediate submarine operations 



against all commerce, whether of beUigerents or of neu- 
trals, that should seek to approach Great Britain and 
Ireland, the Atlantic coasts of Europe, or the harbors 
of the eastern Mediterranean, and to conduct those 
operations without regard to the established restrictions 
of international practice, without regard to any con- 
siderations of humanity even which might interfere 
with their object. That policy was forthwith put into 
practice. It has now been in active execution for nearly 
four weeks. 

Its practical results are not yet fully disclosed. The 
commerce of other neutral nations is suffering severely, 
but not, perhaps, very much more severely than it was 
already suffering before the first of February, when 
the new policy of the Imperial Government was put into 
operation. We have asked the co-operation of the other 
neutral governments to prevent these depredations, but 
so far none of them has thought it wise to join us in 
any common course of action. Our own commerce has 
suffered, is suffering, rather in apprehension than in 
fact, rather because so many of our ships are timidly 
keeping to their home ports than because American 
ships have been sunk. 

Two American vessels have been sunk, the Housd- 
tonic and the Lyman M. Law. The case of the 
Housatonic, which was carrying foodstuffs consigned 
to a London firm, was essentially like the case of the 
Frye, in which, it will be recalled, the German Govern- 
ment admitted its liability for damages, and the lives 
of the crew, as in the case of the Frye, were safeguarded 
with reasonable care. The case of the Law, which was 


carrying lemon-box staves to Palermo, disclosed a ruth- 
lessness of method which deserves grave condemnation, 
but was accompanied by no circumstances which might 
not have been expected at any time in connection with 
the use of the submarine against merchantmen as the 
German Government has used it. 

In sum, therefore, the situation we find ourselves in 
with regard to the actual conduct of the German sub- 
marine warfare against commerce and its effects upon 
our own ships and people is substantially the same that 
it was when I addressed you on the third of February, 
except for the tying up of our shipping in our own 
ports because of the unwillingness of our shipowners 
4o risk their vessels at sea without insurance or adequate 
protection, and the very serious congestion of our com- 
merce which has resulted, a congestion which is growing 
rapidly more and more serious every day. This in 
itself might presently accomplish, in effect, what the 
new German submarine orders were meant to accom- 
plish, so far as we are concerned. We can only say, 
therefore, that the overt act which I have ventured to 
hope the German commanders would in fact avoid has 
not occurred. 

But, while this is happily true, it must be admitted 
that there have been certain additional indications and 
expressions of purpose on the part of the German press 
and the German authorities which have increased rather 
than lessened the impression that, if our ships and our 
people are spared, it will be because of fortunate cir- 
cumstances or because the commanders of the German 
submarines which they may happen to encounter exer- 


cise an unexpected discretion and restraint rather than 
because of the instructions under which those com- 
manders are acting. It would be foolish to deny that 
the situation is fraught with the gravest possibilities 
and dangers. No thoughtful man can fail to see that 
the necessity for definite action may come at any time, 
if we are in fact, and not in word merely, to defend 
our elementary rights as a neutral nation. It would be 
most imprudent to be unprepared. 

I cannot in such circumstances be unmindful of the 
fact that the expiration of the term of the present Con- 
gress is immediately at hand, by constitutional limita- 
tion; and that it would in all likelihood require an 
unusual length of time to assemble and organize the 
Congress which is to succeed it. I feel that I ought, in 
view of that fact, to obtain from you full and immediate 
assurance of the authority which I may need at any 
moment to exercise. No doubt I already possess that 
authority without special warrant of law, by the plain 
implication of my constitutional duties and powers ; but 
I prefer, in the present circumstances, not to act upon 
general implication. I wish to feel that the authority 
and the power of the Congress are behind me in what- 
ever it may become necessary for me to do. We are 
jointly the servants of the people and must act to- 
gether and in their spirit, so far as we can divine and 
interpret it. 

No one doubts what it is our duty to do. We must 
defend our commerce and the lives of our people in the 
midst of the present trying circumstances, with discre- 
tion but with clear and steadfast purpose. Only the 


method and the extent remain to be chosen, upon the 
occasion, if occasion should indeed arise. Since it has 
unhappily proved impossible to safeguard our neutral 
rights by diplomatic means against the unwarranted 
infringements they are suffering at the hands of Ger- 
many, there may be no recourse but to armed neutrality, 
which we shall know how to maintain and for which 
there is abundant American precedent. 

It is devoutly to be hoped that it will not be neces- 
sary to put armed force anywhere into action. The 
American people do not desire it, and our desire is not 
different from theirs. I am sure that they will under- 
stand the spirit in which I am now acting, the purpose 
I hold nearest my heart and would wish to exhibit in 
everything I do. I am anxious that the people of the 
nations at war also should tmderstand and not mistrust 
us. I hope that I need give no further proofs and assur- 
ances than I have already given throughout nearly three 
years of anxious patience that I am the friend of peace 
and mean to preserve it for America so long as I am 
able. I am not now proposing or contemplating war or 
any steps that need lead to it. I merely request that 
you will accord me by your own vote and definite be- 
stowal the means and the authority to safeguard in 
practice the right of a great people who are at peace 
and who are desirous of exercising none but the rights 
of peace to follow the pursuits of peace in quietness 
and good will, — ^rights recognized time out of mind by 
all the civilized nations of the world. No course of my 
choosing or of theirs will lead to war. War can come 
only by the willful acts and aggressions of others. 


You will understand why I can make no definite pro- 
posals or forecasts of action now and must ask for your 
supporting authority in the most general terms. The 
form in which action may become necessary cannot yet 
be foreseen. I believe that the people will be willing 
to trust me to act with restraint, with prudence, and 
in the true spirit of amity and good faith that they have 
themselves displayed throughout these trying months; 
and it is in that belief that I request that you wiU 
authorize me to supply our merchant ships with defen- 
sive arms, should that become necessary, and with the 
means of using them, and to employ any other instru- 
mentalities or methods that may be necessary and ade- 
quate to protect our ships and our people in their 
legitimate and peaceful pursuits on the seas. I request 
also that you will grant me at the same time, along 
with the powers I ask, a sufficient credit to enable me 
to provide adequate means of protection where they are 
lacking, including adequate insurance against the pres- 
ent war risks. 

I have spoken of our commerce and of the legiti- 
mate errands of our people on the seas, but you wiM 
not be misled as to my main thought, the thought that 
lies beneath these phrases and gives them dignity and 
weight. It is not of material interests merely that we 
are thinking. It is, rather, of fundamental human 
rights, chief of all the right of life itself. I am think- 
ing, not only of the rights of Americans to go and come 
about their proper business by way of the sea, but also 
of something much deeper, much more fundamental 
than that. I am thinking of those rights of hxmianity 


without which there is no civilization. My theme is of 
those great principles of compassion and of protection 
which mankind has sought to throw about human lives, 
the lives of non-combatants, the lives of men who are 
peacefully at work keeping the industrial processes of 
the world quick and vital, the lives of women and chil- 
dren and of those who supply the labor which ministers 
to their sustenance. We are speaking of no selfish 
material rights but of rights which our hearts support 
and whose foundation is that righteous passion for jus- 
tice upon which all law, all structures alike of family, 
of state, and of mankind must rest, as upon the ulti- 
mate base of our existence and our liberty. I cannot 
imagine any man with American principles at his heart 
hesitating to defend these things. 


TON, MARCH 5, 1917 

My Fellow Citizens: 

The four years which have elapsed since last I stood 
in this place have been crowded with counsel and action 
of the most vital interest and consequence. Perhaps no 
equal period in our history has been so fruitful of im- 
portant reforms in our economic and industrial life or 
so full of significant changes in the spirit and purpose 
of our political action. We have sought very thought- 
fully to set our house in order, correct the grosser errors 
and abuses of our industrial life, liberate and quicken 
the processes of our national genius and energy, and lift 
our politics to a broader view of the people's essential 
interests. It is a record of singular variety and singu- 
lar distinction. But I shall not attempt to review it. 
It speaks for itself and will be of increasing influence 
as the years go by. This is not the time for retrospect. 
It is time, rather, to speak our thoughts and purposes 
concerning the present and the immediate future. 

Although we have centered counsel and action with 
such unusual concentration and success upon the great 
problems of domestic legislation to which we addressed 
ourselves four years ago, other matters have more and 
more forced themselves upon our attention, matters 
lying outside our own life as a nation and over which 
we had no control, but which, despite our wish to keep 



free of them, have drawn us more and more irresistibly 
into their own current and influence. 

It has been impossible to avoid them. They have 
affected the life of the whole world. They have shaken 
men everywhere with a passion and an apprehension 
they never knew before. It has been hard to preserve 
calm counsel while the thought of our own people swayed 
this way and that under their influence. We are a com- 
posite and cosmopolitan people. We are of the blood 
of all the nations that are at war. The currents of our 
thoughts as well as the currents of our trade run quick 
at all seasons back and forth between us and them. 
The war inevitably set its mark from the first alike 
upon our minds, our industries, our commerce, our 
politics, and our social action. To be indifferent to it 
or independent of it was out of the question. 

And yet all the while we have been conscious that 
we were not part of it. In that consciousness, despite 
many divisions, we have drawn closer together. We 
have been deeply wronged upon the seas, but we have 
not wished to wrong or injure in return ; have retained 
throughout the consciousness of standing in some sort 
apart, intent upon an interest that transcended the 
immediate issues of the war itself. As some of the 
injuries done us have become intolerable we have still 
been clear that we wished nothing for ourselves that 
we were not ready to demand for all mankind, — ^fair 
dealing, justice, the freedom to live and be at ease 
against organized wrong. 

It is in this spirit and with this thought that we 
have grown more and more aware, more and more cer- 


tain that the part we wished to play was the part of 
those who mean to vindicate and fortify peace. We 
have been obliged to arm ourselves to make good our 
claim to a certain Tninimum of right and of freedom 
of action. We stand firm in armed neutrality since it 
seems that in no other way we can demonstrate what 
it is we insist upon and cannot forego. We may even 
be drawn on, by circumstances, not by our own purpose 
or desire, to a more active assertion of our rights as 
we see them and a more immediate association with 
the great struggle itself. But nothing will alter our 
thought or our purpose. They are too clear to be 
obscured. They are too deeply rooted in the principles 
of our national life to be altered. We desire neither 
conquest nor advantage. We wish nothing that can be 
had only at the cost of another people. We have always 
professed unselfish purpose and we covet the opportunity 
to prove that our professions are sincere. 

There are many things still to do at home, to clarify 
our own politics and give new vitality to the industrial 
processes of our own life, and we shall do them as time 
and opportunity serve; but we realize that the greatest 
things that remain to be done must be done with the 
whole world for stage and in co-operation with the wide 
and universal forces of mankind, and we are nriRlring 
our spirits ready for those things. They will follow in 
the immediate wake of the war itself and will set civili- 
zation up again. We are provincials no longer. The 
tragical events of the thirty months of vital turmoil 
through which we have just passed have made us citi- 
zens of the world. There can be no turning back. Our 


own fortunes as a nation are involved, whether we would 
have it so or not. 

And yet we are not the less Americans on that 
account. We shall be the more American if we but 
remain true to the principles in which we have been 
bred. They are not the principles of a province or of 
a single continent. We have known and boasted all 
along that they were the principles of a liberated man- 
kind. These, therefore, are the things we shall stand 
for, whether in war or in peace: 

That all nations are equally interested in the peace 
of the world and in the political stability of free peo- 
ples, and equally responsible for their maintenance; 

That the essential principle of peace is the actual 
equality of nations in all matters of right or privilege ; 

That peace cannot securely or justly rest upon an 
armed balance of power; 

That governments derive all their just powers from 
the consent of the governed and that no other powers 
should be supported by the common thought, purpose, 
or power of the family of nations. 

That the seas should be equally free and safe for 
the use of all peoples, under rules set up by common 
agreement and consent, and that, so far as practicable, 
they should be accessible to all upon equal terms ; 

That national armaments should be limited to the 
necessities of national order and domestic safety; 

That the commimity of interest and of power upon 
which peace must henceforth depend imposes upon each 
nation the duty of seeing to it that all influences pro- 
ceeding from its own citizens meant to encourage or 


assist revolution in other states should be sternly and 
effectually suppressed and prevented. 

I need not argue these principles to you, my fellow 
countrymen: they are your own, part and parcel of 
your own thinking and your own motive in affairs. 
They spring up native amongst us. Upon this as a 
platform of purpose and of action we can stand together. 

And it is imperative that we should stand together. 
We are being forged into a new unity amidst the fires 
that now blaze throughout the world. In their ardent 
heat we shall, in God's providence, let us hope, be 
purged of faction and division, purified of the errant 
hmnors of party and of private interest, and shall stand 
forth in the days to come with a new dignity of national 
pride and spirit. Let each man see to it that the dedi- 
cation is in his own heart, the high purpose of the 
Nation in his own mind, ruler of his own will and desire. 

I stand here and have taken the high and solemn 
oath to which you have been audience because the peo- 
ple of the United States have chosen me for this august 
delegation of power and have by their gracious judg- 
ment named me their leader in affairs. I know now 
what the task means. I realize to the full the responsi- 
bility which it involves. I pray God I may be given the 
wisdom and the prudence to do my duty in the true 
spirit of this great people. I am their servant and can 
succeed only as they sustain and guide me by their con- 
fidence and their counsel. The thing I shall count upon, 
the thing without which neither counsel nor action will 
avail, is the unity of America, — an America united in 
feeling, in purpose, and in its vision of duty, of oppor- 


tuniiy, and of service. We are to beware of all men 
who would turn the tasks and the necessities of the 
Nation to their own private profit or use them for the 
building up of private power; beware that no faction 
or disloyal intrigue break the harmony or embarrass the 
spirit of our people; beware that our Government be 
kept pure and incorrupt in all its parts. United alike 
in the conception of our duty and in the high resolve 
to perform it in the face of all men, let us dedicate our- 
selves to the great task to which we must now set our 
hand. For myself I beg your tolerance, your counte- 
nance, and your united aid. The shadows that now lie 
dark upon our path will soon be dispelled and we shall 
walk with the light all about us if we be but true to 
ourselves, — ^to ourselves as we have wished to be known 
in the counsels of the world and in the thought of all 
those who love liberty and justice and the right exalted. 


2, 1917 

In the intenral between February 26th and April 2d, the President had oome 
to the conclusion that neutrality was incompatible with the undoubted rights, 
and therefore the best interests, of the United States. Germany had already 
drawn the sword and was in a state of war, although not declared, with the 
United States. President Wilson decided that this situation should be regular- 
ized by a declaration on the part of the United States that a state of war 
existed between the Imperial German €k>vemment and the United States. He 
therefore recommended such action in his address of April 2d, and on the 6th 
instant the Congress passed the following joint resolution, carrying into effect 
his recommendation: 

"Whereas the Imperial German Government has committed repeated 
acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of 
America: Therefore be it 

"Resolved hy the Senate and Hottae of RepreeentativeB of the United 
States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between 
the United States and the Imperial Government which has thus been thrust 
upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and that the President 
be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and 
military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to 
carry on war against the Imperial German Government; and to bring the 
conflict to a successful termination all of the resources of the country are 
hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States." 

Gentlemen of the Congress: 

I have called the Congress into extraordinary session 
because there are serious, very serious, choices of policy 
to be made, and made immediately, which it was neither 
right nor constitutionally permissible that I should 
assume the responsibility of making. 



On the third of February last I officially laid before 
you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial 
German Government that on and after the first day of 
February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints 
of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink 
every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of 
Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of 
Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies 
of Germany within the Mediterranean. That had seemed 
to be the object of the German submarine warfare 
earlier in the war, but since April of last year the 
Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the com- 
manders of its undersea craft in conformity with its 
promise then given to us that passenger boats should 
not be sunk and that due warning would be given to 
all other vessels which its submarines might seek to 
destroy, when no resistance was offered or escape 
attempted, and care taken that their crews were given 
at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open 
boats. The precautions taken were meager and hap- 
hazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance 
after instance in the progress of the cruel and immanly 
business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 
The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Ves- 
sels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, 
their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been 
ruthlessly sent to the bottom without warning and with- 
out thought of help or mercy for those on board, the 
vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belliger- 
ents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to 
the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, 


though the latter were provided with safe conduct 
through the proscribed areas by the German Gk)vem- 
ment itself and were distinguished by unmistakable 
marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reck- 
less lack of compassion or of principle. 

I was for a little while unable to believe that such 
things would in fact be done by any government that 
had hitherto subscribed to the humane practices of 
civilized nations. International law had its origin in 
the attempt to set up some law which would be respected 
and observed upon the seas, where no nation had right 
of dominion and where lay the free highways of the 
world. By painful stage after stage has that law been 
built up, with meager enough results, indeed, after all 
was accomplished that could be accomplished, but always 
with a clear view, at least, of what the heart and con- 
science of mankind demanded. This TniniTnuTn of right 
the German Government has swept aside under the 
plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no 
weapons which it could use at sea except these which 
it is impossible to employ as it is employing them with- 
out throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or 
of respect for the understandings that were supposed 
to underlie the intercourse of the world. I am not now 
thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and 
serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale 
destruction of the lives of non-combatants, men, women, 
and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, 
even in the darkest periods of modem history, been 
deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid 
for ; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. 


The present German submarine warfare against com- 
merce is a warfare against mankind. 

It is a war against all nations. American ships have 
been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has 
stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and 
people of other neutral and friendly nations have been 
sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. 
There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to 
all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how 
it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must 
be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperate- 
ness of judgment befitting our character and our motives 
as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our 
motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion 
of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindi- 
cation of right, of human right, of which we are only 
a single champion. 

When I addressed the Congress on the twenty-sixth 
of February last I thought that it would suflSce to assert 
our neutral rights with arms, our right to use the seas 
against unlawful interference, our right to keep our 
people safe against unlawful violence. But armed neu- 
trality, it now appears, is impracticable. Because sub- 
marines are in effect outlaws when used as the German 
submarines have been used against merchant shipping, 
it is impossible to defend ships against their attacks 
as the law of nations has assumed that merchantmen 
would defend themselves against privateers or cruisers, 
visible craft giving chase upon the open sea. It is com- 
mon prudence in such circumstances, grim necessity 
indeed, to endeavor to destroy them before they have 


shown their own intention. They must be dealt with 
upon sight, if dealt with at all. The German Govern- 
ment denies the right of neutrals to use arms at all 
within the areas of the sea which it has proscribed, even 
in the defense of rights which no modem publicist has 
ever before questioned their right to defend. The inti- 
mation is conveyed that the armed guards which we 
have placed on our merchant ships wiU be treated as 
beyond the pale of law and subject to be dealt with as 
pirates would be. Armed neutrality is ineffectual 
enough at best; in such circumstances and in the face 
of such pretensions it is worse than ineffectual: it is 
likely only to produce what it was meant to prevent; 
it is practically certain to draw us into the war with- 
out either the rights or the effectiveness of belligerents. 
There is one choice we cannot make, we are incapable 
of making: we will not choose the path of submission 
and suffer the most sacred rights of our nation and our 
people to be ignored or violated. The wrongs against 
which we now array ourselves are no common wrongs; 
they cut to the very roots of human life. 

With a profound sense of the solemn and even tragi- 
cal character of the step I am taking and of the grave 
responsibilities which it involves, but in unhesitating 
obedience to what I deem my constitutional duty, I 
advise that the Congress declare the recent course of 
the Imperial German Government to be in fact nothing 
less than war against the government and people of the 
United States; that it formally accept the status of 
belligerent which has thus been thrust upon it ; and that 
it take immediate steps not only to put the country in 


a more thorough state of defense but also to exert all its 
power and employ all its resources to bring the Gov- 
ernment of the German Empire to terms and end the 

What this will involve is dear. It will involve the 
utmost practicable co-operation in counsel and action 
with the governments now at war with Germany, and, 
as incident to that, the extension to those governments 
of the most liberal financial credits, in order that our 
resources may so far as possible be added to theirs. It 
will involve the organization and mobilization of all the 
material resources of the country to supply the mate- 
rials of war and serve the incidental needs of the nation 
in the most abundant and yet the most economical and 
ef&cient way possible. It will involve the immediate 
full equipment of the navy in aU respects but particu- 
larly in supplying it with the best means of dealing with 
the enemy's submarines. It will involve the immediate 
addition to the armed forces of the United States 
already provided for by law in case of war at least 
five hundred thousand men, who should, in my opinion, 
be chosen upon the principle of universal liability to 
service, and also the authorization of subsequent addi- 
tional incremente of equal force so soon as they may be 
needed and can be handled in training. It will involve 
also, of course, the granting of adequate credits to the 
Government, sustained, I hope, so far as they can equi- 
tably be sustained by the present generation, by well 
conceived taxation. 

I say sustained so far as may be equitable by taxa- 
tion because it seems to me that it would be most un- 


wise to base the credits which will now be necessary 
entirely on money borrowed. It is our duty, I most 
respectfully urge, to protect our people so fax as we 
may against the very serious hardships and evils which 
would be likely to arise out of the inflation which would 
be produced by vast loans. 

In carrying out the measures by which these things 
are to be accomplished we should keep constantly in 
mind the wisdom of interfering as little as possible in 
our own preparation and in the equipment of our own 
military forces with the duty, — for it will be a very 
practical duty,— of supplying the nations already at 
war with Germany with the materials which they can 
obtain only from us or by our assistance. They are 
in the field and we should help them in every way to 
be effective there. 

I shall take the liberty of suggesting, through the 
several executive departments of the Government, for 
the consideration of your committees, measures for the 
accomplishment of the several objects I have men- 
tioned. I hope that it will be your pleasure to deal 
with them as having been framed after very careful 
thought by the branch of the Government upon which 
the responsibility of conducting the war and safeguard- 
ing the nation will most directly fall. 

While we do these things, these deeply momentous 
things, let us be very clear, and make very clear to all 
the world what our motives and our objects are. My 
own thought has not been driven from its habitual and 
normal course by the unhappy events of the last two 
months, and I do not believe that the thought of the 


natioii has been altered or clouded by them. I have 
exactly the same things in mind now that I had in 
mind when I addressed the Senate on the twenty- 
second of January last; the same that I had in 
mind when I addressed the Congress on the third 
of February and on the twenty-sixth of February. 
Our object now, as then, is to vindicate the prin- 
ciples of peace and justice in the life of the world 
as against selfish and autocratic power and to set up 
amongst the really free and self-governed peoples of 
the world such a concert of purpose and of action as 
will henceforth insure the observance of those prin- 
ciples. Neutrality is no longer feasible or desirable 
where the peace of the world is involved and the free- 
dom of its peoples, and the menace to that peace and 
freedom lies in the existence of autocratic governments 
backed by organized force which is controlled wholly by 
their will, not by the will of their people. We have 
seen the last of neutrality in such circumstances. We 
are at the beginning of an age in which it will be 
insisted that the same standards of conduct and of 
responsibility for wrong done shall be observed among 
nations and their governments that are observed among 
the individual citizens of civilized states. 

We have no quarrel with the German people. We 
have no feeling towards them but one of sympathy and 
friendship. It was not upon their impulse that their 
government acted in entering this war. It was not 
with their previous knowledge or approval. It was a 
war determined upon as wars used to be determined 
upon in the old, unhappy days when peoples were no- 


where consulted by their rulers and wars were provoked 
and waged in the interest of dynasties or of little groups 
of ambitious men who were accustomed to use their 
fellow-men as pawns and tools. Self -governed nations 
do not fill their neighbor states with spies or set the 
course of intrigue to bring about some critical posture 
of affairs which wiU give them an opportunity to strike 
and make conquest. Such designs can be successfully 
worked out only under cover and where no one has the 
right to ask questions. Cunningly contrived plans of 
deception or aggression, carried, it may be, from gener- 
ation to generation, can be worked out and kept from 
the light only within the privacy of courts or behind 
the carefully guarded confidences of a narrow and 
privileged class. They are happily impossible where 
public opinion commands and insists upon full informa- 
tion concerning all the nation's affairs. 

A steadfast concert for peace can never be main- 
tained except by a partnership of democratic nations. 
No autocratic government could be trusted to keep 
faith within it or observe its covenants. It must be a 
league of honor, a partnership of opinion. Intrigue 
would eat its vitals away; the plottings of inner circles 
who could plan what they would and render account to 
no one would be a corruption seated at its very heart. 
Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their 
honor steady to a common end and prefer the interests 
of mankind to any narrow interest of their own. 

Does not every American feel that assurance has been 
added to our hope for the future peace of the world 
by the wonderful and heartening things that have been 


happening within the last few weeks in Russia ? Russia 
was known by those who knew it best to have been 
always in fact democratic at heart, in all the vital habits 
of her thought, in all the intimate relationships of her 
people that spoke their natural instinct, their habitual 
attitude towards life. The autocracy that crowned the 
summit of her political structure, long as it had stood 
and terrible as was the reality of its power, was not 
in fact Russian in origin, character, or purpose; and 
now it has been shaken off and the great, generous 
Russian people have been added in all their naive 
majesty and might to the forces that are fighting for 
freedom in the world, for justice, and for peace. Here 
is a fit partner for a League of Honor. 

One of the things that has served to convince us that 
the Prussian autocracy was not and could never be 
our friend is that from the very outset of the present 
war it has filled our unsuspecting communities and even 
our of&ces of government with spies and set criminal 
Intrigues everywhere afoot against our national imity 
of counsel, our peace within and without, our industries 
and our commerce. Indeed it is now evident that its 
spies were here even before the war began; and it is 
imhappily not a matter of conjecture but a fact proved 
in our courts of justice that the intrigues which have 
more than once come perilously near to disturbing the 
peace and dislocating the industries of the country have 
been carried on at the instigation, with the support, and 
even under the personal direction of ofi&cial agents of 
the Imperial Government accredited to the Government 
of the United States. Even in checking these things 


and trying to extirpate them we have sought to put 
the most generous interpretation possible upon them 
because we knew that their source lay, not in any hos- 
tile feeling or purpose of the German people towards 
us (who were, no doubt, as ignorant of them as we 
ourselves were), but only in the selfish designs of a 
Government that did what it pleased and told its people 
nothing. But they have played their part in serving 
to convince us at last that that Government entertains 
no real friendship for us and means to act against our 
peace and security at its convenience. That it means 
to stir up enemies against us at our very doors the inter- 
cepted note to the German Minister at Mexico City is 
eloquent evidence. 

We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose 
because we know that in such a government, following 
such methods, we can never have a friend; and that 
in the presence of its organized power, always lying in 
wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there 
can be no assured security for the democratic govern- 
ments of the world. We are now about to accept gauge 
of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall, if 
necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check 
and nullify its pretensions and its power. We are glad, 
now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense 
about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the 
world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German 
peoples included: for the rights of nations great and 
small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose 
their way of life and of obedience. The world must be 
made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted 


upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We 
have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, 
no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, 
no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall 
freely make. We are but one of the champions of the 
rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those 
rights have been made as secure as the faith and the 
freedom of nations can make them. 

Just because we fight without rancor and without 
selfish object, seeking nothing for ourselves but what 
we shall wish to share with all free peoples, we shall, I 
feel confident, conduct our operations as belligerents 
without passion and ourselves observe with proud punc- 
tilio the principles of right and of fair play we profess 
to be fighting for. 

I have said nothing of the governments allied with 
the Imperial Government of Germany because they have 
not made war upon us or challenged us to defend our 
right and our honor. The Austro-Hungarian Govern- 
ment has, indeed, avowed its unqualified indorsement 
and acceptance of the reckless and lawless submarine 
warfare adopted now without disguise by the Imperial 
German Government, and it has therefore not been i)os- 
fiible for this Government to receive Count Tarnowski, 
the Ambassador recently accredited to this Government 
by the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria- 
Hungary; but that Government has not actually en- 
gaged in warfare against citizens of the United States 
on the seas, and I take the liberty, for the present at 
least, of postponing a discussion of our relations with 
the authorities at Vienna. We enter this war only 


where we are clearly forced into it because there are 
no other means of defending our rights. 

It will be all the easier for us to conduct ourselves 
as belligerents in a high spirit of right and fairness 
because we act without animus, not in enmity towards 
a people or with the desire to bring any injury or 
disadvantage upon them, but only in armed opposition 
to an irresponsible government which has thrown aside 
all considerations of humanity and of right and is run- 
ning amuck. We are, let me say again, the sincere 
friends of the German people, and shall desire nothing 
so much as the early re-establishment of intimate rela- 
tions of mutual advantage between us, — ^however hard 
it may be for them, for the time being, to believe that 
this is spoken from our hearts. We have borne with 
their present government through all these bitter months 
because of that friendship, — exercising a patience and 
forbearance which would otherwise have been impos- 
sible. We shall, happily, still have an opportunity to 
prove that friendship in our daily attitude and actions 
towards the millions of men and women of German birth 
and native sympathy who live amongst us and share 
our life, and we shall be proud to prove it towards all 
who are in fact loyal to their neighbors and to the Gov- 
ernment in the hour of test. They are, most of them, 
as true and loyal Americans as if they had never known 
any other fealty or allegiance. They wiU be prompt to 
stand with us in rebuking and restraining the few who 
may be of a different mind and purpose. If there 
should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with with a firm 
hand of stern repression ; but, if it lifts its head at all, 


it will lift it only here and there and without counte- 
nance except from a lawless and malignant few. 

It is a distressing and oppressive duty, Gentlemen 
of the Congress, which I have performed in thus 
addressing you. There are, it may be, many months 
of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful 
thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into 
the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization 
itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is 
more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the 
things which we have always carried nearest our 
hearts, — ^for democracy, for the right of those who 
submit to authority to have a voice in their own govern- 
ments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for 
a universal dominion of right by such a concert of 
free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations 
and make the world itself at last free. To such a task 
we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything 
that we are and everything that we have, with the pride 
of those who know that the day has come when America 
is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the 
principles that gave her birth and happiness and the 
peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she 
can do no other. 

MANY, APRIL 15, 1917 

My Fellow-Countrymen : 

The entrance of our own beloved country into the 
grim and terrible war for democracy and human rights 
which has shaken the world creates so many problems 
of national life and action which call for immediate 
consideration and settlement that I hope you will per- 
mit me to address to you a few words of earnest coun- 
sel and appeal with regard to them. 

We are rapidly putting our navy upon an effective 
war footing and are about to create and equip a great 
army, but these are the simplest parts of the great task 
to which we have addressed ourselves. There is not a 
single selfish element, so far as I can see, in the cause 
we are fighting for. We are fighting for what we 
believe and wish to be the rights of mankind and for 
the future peace and security of the world. To do this 
great thing worthily and successfully we must devote 
ourselves to the service without regard to profit or 
material advantage and with an energy and intelligence 
that will rise to the level of the enterprise itself. We 
must realize to the full how great the task is and how 
many things, how many kinds and elements of capacity 
and service and self-sacrifice, it involves. 



These, then, are the things we must do, and do well, 
besides fighting, — ^the things without which mere fight- 
ing would be fruitless: 

We must supply abundant food for ourselves and 
for our armies and our seamen not only, but also for 
a large part of the nations with whom we have now 
made common cause, in whose support and by whose 
sides we shall be fighting; 

We must supply ships by the hundreds out of our 
shipyards to carry to the other side of the sea, sub- 
marines or no submarines, what wiU every day be needed 
there, and abundant materials out of our fields and our 
mines and our factories with which not only to clothe 
and equip our own forces on land and sea but also to 
clothe and support our people for whom the gallant 
fellows under arms can no longer work, to help clothe 
and equip the armies with which we are co-operating in 
Europe, and to keep the looms and manufactories there 
in raw material; coal to keep the fires going in ships 
at sea and in the furnaces of hundreds of factories 
across the sea; steel out of which to make arms and 
ammunition both here and there; rails for worn-out 
railways back of the fighting fronts; locomotives and 
rolling stock to take the place of those every day going 
to pieces; mules, horses, cattle for labor and for mili- 
tary service ; everything with which the people of Eng- 
land and Prance and Italy and Eussia have usually 
supplied themselves but cannot now afford the men, 
the materials, or the machinery to make. 

It is evident to every thinking man that our indus- 
tries, on the farms, in the shipyards, in the mines, in 


the factories, must be made more prolific and more 
efficient than ever and that they must be more eco- 
nomically managed and better adapted to the particular 
requirements of our task than they have been ; and what 
I want to say is that the men and the women who devote 
their thought and their energy to these things will be 
serving the country and conducting the fight for peace 
and freedom just as truly and just as effectively as the 
men on the battlefield or in the trenches. The industrial 
forces of the country, men and women alike, wiU be 
a great national, a great international, Service Army, — 
a notable and honored host engaged in the service of 
the nation and the world, the efficient friends and 
saviors of free men everywhere. Thousands, nay, hun- 
dreds of thousands, of men otherwise liable to military 
service will of right and of necessity be excused from 
that service and assigned to the fundamental, sustain- 
ing work of the fields and factories and mines, and they 
will be as much part of the great patriotic forces of the 
nation as the men under fire. 

I take the liberty, therefore, of addressing this word 
to the farmers of the country and to all who work on 
the farms: The supreme need of our own nation and 
of the nations with which we are co-operating is an 
abundance of supplies, and especially of foodstuffs. 
The importance of an adequate food supply, especially 
for the present year, is superlative. Without abundant 
food, alike for the armies and the peoples now at war, 
the whole great enterprise upon which we have em- 
barked will break down and fail. The world's food 
reserves are low. Not only during the present emer- 


gency but for some time after peace shall have come 
both our own people and a large proportion of the 
people of Europe must rely upon the harvests in 
America. Upon the farmers of this country, therefore, 
in large measure, rests the fate of the war and the fate 
of the nations. May the nation not count upon them 
to omit no step that will increase the production of their 
land or that will bring about the most effectual co-oper- 
ation in the sale and distribution of their products? 
The time is short. It is of the most imperative impor- 
tance that everything possible be done and done immedi- 
ately to make sure of large harvests. I call upon young 
men and old alike and upon the able-bodied boys of the 
land to accept and act upon this duty — ^to turn in hosts 
to the farms and make certain that no pains and no 
labor is lacking in this great matter. 

I particularly appeal to the farmers of the South 
to plant abundant foodstuffs as well as cotton. They 
can show their patriotism in no better or more con- 
vincing way than by resisting the great temptation of 
the present price of cotton and helping, helping upon 
a great scale, to feed the nation and the peoples every- 
where who are fighting for their liberties and for our 
own. The variety of their crops will be the visible 
measure of their comprehension of their national duty. 

The Government of the United States and the gov- 
ernments of the several States stand ready to co-operate. 
They will do everything possible to assist farmers in 
securing an adequate supply of seed, an adequate force 
of laborers when they are most needed, at harvest time, 
and the means of expediting shipments of fertilizers 


and farm machinery, as well as of the crops themselves 
when harvested. The course of trade shall be as un- 
hampered as it is possible to make it and there shall 
be no unwarranted manipulation of the nation's food 
supply by those who handle it on its way to the con- 
sumer. This is our opportimity to demonstrate the 
eflBciency of a great Democracy and we shall not fall 
short of it! 

This let me say to the middlemen of every sort, 
whether they are handling our foodstuffs or our raw 
materials of manufacture or the products of our mills 
and factories : The eyes of the country will be especially 
upon you. This is your opportimity for signal service, 
efficient and disinterested. The country expects you, 
as it expects all others, to forego unusual profits, to 
organize and expedite shipments of supplies of every 
kind, but especially of food, with an eye to the service 
you are rendering and in the spirit of those who enlist 
in the ranks, for their people, not for themselves. I 
shall confidently expect you to deserve and win the con- 
fidence of people of every sort and station. 

To the men who run the railways of the country, 
whether they be managers or operative employees, let 
me say that the railways are the arteries of the nation's 
life and that upon them rests the immense responsi- 
bility of seeing to it that those arteries suffer no obstruc- 
tion of any kind, no inefficiency or slackened power. 
To the merchant let me suggest the motto, "Small 
profits and quick service;'' and to the shipbuilder the 
thought that the life of the war depends upon him. 
The food and the war supplies must be carried across 


the seas no matter how many ships are sent to the 
hottom. The places of those that go down must be 
supplied and supplied at once. To the miner let me 
say that he stands where the farmer does: the work of 
the world waits on him. If he slackens or fails, armies 
and statesmen are helpless. He also is enlisted in the 
great Service Army. The manufacturer does not need 
to be told, I hope, that the nation looks to him to speed 
and perfect every process; and I want only to remind 
his employees that their service is absolutely indispen- 
sable and is counted on by every man who loves the 
country and its liberties. 

Let me suggest, also, that everyone who creates or 
cultivates a garden helps, and helps greatly, to solve 
the problem of the feeding of the nations; and that 
every housewife who practices strict economy puts her- 
self in the ranks of those who serve the nation. This 
is the time for America to correct her unpardonable 
fault of wastefulness and extravagance. Let every man 
and every woman assume the duty of careful, provident 
use and expenditure as a public duty, as a dictate of 
patriotism which no one can now expect ever to be 
excused or forgiven for ignoring. 

In the hope that this statement of the needs of the 
nation and of the world in this hour of supreme crisis 
may stimulate those to whom it comes and remind all 
who need reminder of the solenm duties of a time such 
as the world has never seen before, I beg that all editors 
and publishers everywhere wiU give as prominent publi- 
cation and as wide circulation as possible to this appeal. 
I venture to suggest, also, to all advertising agencies 


that they would perhaps render a very substantial and 
timely service to the country if they would give it wide- 
spread repetition. And I hope that clergymen will not 
think the theme of it an unworthy or inappropriate 
subject of comment and homily from their pulpits. 
The supreme test of the nation has come. We must 
all speaky act, and serve together! 



MAY 12, 1917 

In the course of the following address. President Wilson said, in speaking 
of the war between the United States and the Imperial German Government: 
" We have gone in with no special grievance of our own." 

This phrase did not stand alone, and the text of which it was a part dearly 
showed the President's thought to be that the war was commenced hy Germany 
and that our liberty as well as the liberty of the world was at stake. It was 
only in this sense he meant it to be understood that we had no special grievance. 
As, however, the expression was seized upon as if it stood alone, the President 
wrote on May 22, 1017, and made public the following letter to Representative 
Heflin, who had addressed him on the subject: 

" It is incomprehensible to me how any frank or honest person could doubt or 
question my position with regard to the war and its objects. I have again and 
again stated the very serious and long-continued wrongs which the Imperial 
German Government has perpetrated against the rights, the commerce, and the 
citizens of the United States. The list is long and overwhelming. No nation 
that respected itself or the rights of humanity could have borne those wrongs 
any longer. 

"Our objects in going into the war have been stated with equal clearness. 
The whole of the conception, which I take to be the conception of our fellow- 
countrymen, with regard to the outcome of the war and the terms of its settle- 
ment I set forth with the utmost explicitness in an address to the Senate of 
the United States on the twenty-second of January last. Again, in my message 
to Congress on the second of April last those objects were stated in unmistakable 
terms. I can conceive no purpose in seeking to becloud this matter except the 
purpose of weakening the hands of the Government and making the part which 
the United States is to play in this great struggle for human liberty an 
inefficient and hesitating part. We have entered the war for our own reasons 
and with our own objects clearly stated, and shall forget neither the reasons 
nor the objects. There is no hate in our hearts for the German people, but 
there is a resolve which cannot be shaken even by misrepresentation to overcome 
the pretensions of the autocratic Government which acts upon purposes to which 
the German people have never consented." 

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary, Ladies and Gentlemen : 

It gives me a very deep gratification as the titular 

head of the American Bed Gross to accept in the name 

of that association this significant and beautiful gift, 



the gift of the govermnent and of private individuals 
who have conceived their duty in a noble spirit and 
upon a great scale. It seems to me that the architecture 
of the building to which the Secretary alluded sug- 
gests something very significant. There are few build- 
ings in Washington more simple in their lines and in 
their ornamentation than the beautiful building we are 
dedicating this evening. It breathes a spirit of mod- 
esty and seems to adorn duty with its proper garment 
of beauty. It is significant that it should be dedicated 
to women who served to alleviate suffering and com- 
fort those who were in need during our Civil War, 
because their thoughtful, disinterested, self-sacrificing 
devotion is the spirit which should always illustrate 
the services of the Eed Cross. 

The Eed Cross needs at this time more than ever it 
needed before the comprehending support of the Ameri- 
can people and all the facilities which could be placed 
at its disposal to perform its duties adequately and 

I believe that the American people perhaps hardly 
yet realize the sacrifices and sufferings that are before 
them. We thought the scale of our Civil War was un- 
precedented, but in comparison with the struggle into 
which we have now entered the Civil War seems almost 
insignificant in its proportions and in its expenditure of 
treasure and of blood. And, therefore, it is a matter 
of the greatest importance that we should at the outset 
see to it that the American Eed Cross is equipped and 
prepared for the things that lie before it. 

It will be our instrument to do the works of allevi- 


ation and mercy which will attend this struggle. 
Of course, the scale upon which it shall act will be 
greater than the scale of any other duty that it has 
ever attempted to perform. 

It is in recognition of that fact that the American 
Red Gross has just added to its organization a small 
body of men whom it has chosen to call its war council 
— ^not because they are to counsel war, but because they 
are to serve in this special war those purposes of coun- 
sel which have become so imperatively necessary. 

Their first duty will be to raise a great fund out of 
which to draw the resources for the performance of 
their duty, and I do not believe that it will be neces- 
sary to appeal to the American people to respond to 
their call for funds, because the heart of this country 
is in this war, and if the heart of the country is in the 
war, its heart will express itself in the gifts that will 
be poured out for those humane purposes. 

I say the heart of the country is in this war because 
it would not have gone into it if its heart had not been 
prepared for it. It would not have gone into it if it 
Ihad not first believed that here was an opportunity to 
express the character of the United States. 

We have gone in with no special grievance of our 
own, because we have always said that we were the 
zf riends and servants of mankind. We look for no profit. 
^We look for no advantage. We will accept no advan- 
^tage out of this war. 

We go because we believe that the very principles 
>ipon which the American Republic was founded are 
now at stake and must be vindicated. 


In such a contest, therefore, we shall not fail to 
respond to the call for service that comes through the 
instnunentaUty of this particular organization. 

And I think it not inappropriate to say this : There 
will be many expressions of the spirit of sympathy and 
mercy and philanthropy, and I think that it is very 
necessary that we should not disperse our activities in 
those lines too much; that we should keep constantly 
in view the desire to have the utmost concentration and 
eflBciency of effort, and I hope that most, if not all, of 
the philanthropic activities of this war may be 
exercised, if not through the Red Cross then through 
some already constituted and experienced organiza- 

This is no war for amateurs. This is no war for 
mere spontaneous impulse. It means grim business on 
every side of it, and it is the mere counsel of prudence 
that in our philanthropy as well as in our fighting we 
should act through the instrmnentalities already pre- 
pared to our hand and already experienced in the tasks 
which are going to be assigned to them. This should 
be merely the expression of the practical genius of 
America itself, and I believe that the practical genius 
of America will dictate that the efforts in this war in 
this particular field should be concentrated in experi- 
enced hands as our efforts in other fields will be. 

There is another thing that is significant and delight- 
ful to my thought about the fact that this building 
should be dedicated to the memory of the women both 
of the North and South. It is a sort of landmark of 
the unity to which the people have been brought so far 


as any old question which tore our hearts in days gone 
by is concerned; and I pray God that the outcome of 
this struggle may be that every other element of dif- 
ference amongst us will be obliterated and that some 
day historians will remember these momentous years 
as the years which made a single people out of the 
great body of those who call themselves Americans. 

The evidences are already many that this is hap- 
pening. The divisions which were predicted have not 
occurred and will not occur. 

The spirit of this people is already united, and when 
effort and suffering and sacrifice have completed the 
union, men will no longer speak of any lines either of 
race or association cutting athwart the great body of 
this nation. 

So that I feel that we are now beginning the pro- 
cesses which will some day require another beautiful 
memorial erected to those whose hearts uniting united 


TON, MAY 80, 1917 ' 

The program has conferred an unmerited dignity 
upon the remarks I am going to make by calling them 
an address, because I am not here to deliver an address. 
I am here merely to show in my official capacity the 
sympathy of this great government with the object of 
this occasion, and also to speak just a word of the senti- 
ment that is within my own heart. 

Any Memorial day of this sort is, of course, a day 
touched with sorrowful memory, and yet I for one do 
not see how we can have any thought of pity for the 
men whose memory we honor to-day. I do not pity 
them. I envy them, rather, because theirs is a great 
work for liberty accomplished and we are in the midst 
of a work unfinished, testing our strength where their 
strength has already been tested. 

There is a touch of sorrow, but there is a touch of 
reassurance also in a day like this, because we know 
how the men of America have responded to the call of 
the cause of liberty, and it fills our mind with a perfect 
assurance that that response will come again in equal 
measure, with equal majesty, and with a result which 
will hold the attention of all mankind. 

When you refiect upon it these men who died to 
preserve the Union died to preserve the instrument 

^ Only that part of the address is given which concerns international affaira. 



which we are now using to serve the world — ^a free 
nation espousing the cause of human liberty. In one 
sense the great struggle into which we have now en- 
tered is an American struggle, because it is in the 
sense of American honor and American rights, but 
it is something even greater than that, it is a world 

It is a struggle of men who love liberty everywhere, 
and in this cause America will show herself greater than 
ever, because she will rise to a greater thing. 

We have said in the beginning that we planned this 
great government that men who wish freedom might 
have a place of refuge and a place where their hope 
could be realized and now, having established such a 
government, having preserved such a government, hav- 
ing vindicated the power of such a government, we are 
saying to all mankind, ^ Ve did not set this government 
up in order that we might have a selfish and separate 
liberty, for we are now ready to come to your assist- 
ance and fight out upon the fields of the world the cause 
of human liberty. '' In this thing America attains her 
full dignity and the full fruition of her great pur- 

No man can be glad that such things have happened 
as we have witnessed these last fateful years, but 
perhaps it may be permitted to us to be glad that we 
have an opportunity to show the principles that we 
profess to be living, principles that live in our hearts, 
and to have a chance by the pouring out of our blood 
and treasure to vindicate the things which we have pro- 


For, my friends, the real fruition of life is to do 
the things we have said we wish to do. There are 
times when work seems empty and only action seems 
great. Such a time has come, and in the providence of 
God America will once more have an opportunity to 
show the world she was bom to serve mankind. . . . 



I esteem it a very great pleasure and a real privi- 
lege to extend to the men who are attending this reunion 
the very cordial greetings of the United States, 

I suppose that as you mix with one another you 
chiefly find these to be days of memory, when your 
thoughts go back and recall those days of struggle in 
which your hearts were strained, in which the whole 
nation seemed in grapple, and I dare say that you are 
thrilled as you remember the heroic things that were 
then done. 

You are glad to remember that heroic things were 
done on both sides and that men in those days fought 
in something like the old spirit of chivalric gallantry. 

There are many memories of the Civil War that 
thrill along the blood and make one proud to have been 
sprung of a race that could produce such bravery and 
constancy ; and yet the world does not live on memories. 

The world is constantly making its toilsome way for- 
ward into new and different days and I believe that one 
of the things that contribute satisfaction to a reunion 
like this and a welcome like this is that this is also a day 
of oblivion. 

There are some things that we have thankfully buried, 
and among them are the great passions of division which 
once threatened to rend this nation in twain. 



The passion of admiration we still entertain for the 
heroic figures of those old days, but the passion of 
separation, the passion of difference of principle is 
gone — ^gone out of our minds, gone out of our hearts, 
and one of the things that will thrill this country as 
it reads of this reunion is that it wiU read also of a 
rededication on the part of all of us to the great nation 
which we serve in commoiL 

These are days of oblivion as well as of memory, 
for we are forgetting the things that once held us 
asunder. Not only that, but they are days of rejoicing 
because we now at last see why this great nation was 
kept united, for we are beginning to see the great world 
purpose which it was meant to serve. 

Many men I know, particularly of your own genera- 
tion, have wondered at some of the dealings of Provi- 
dence, but the wise heart never questions the dealings 
of Providence, because the great long plan as it unfolds 
has a majesty about it and a definiteness of purpose, 
an elevation of ideal which we were incapable of con- 
ceiving as we tried to work things out with our own 
short sight and weak strength. 

And now that we see ourselves part of a nation 
united, powerful, great in spirit and in purpose, we know 
the great ends which God in His mysterious Providence 
wrought through our instrmnentality, because at the 
heart of the men of the North and of the South there 
was the same love of self-government and of liberty 
and now we are to be an instrument in the hands 
of God to see that liberty is made secure for man- 


At the day of our greatest division there was one 
common passion among us, and that was the passion 
for human freedom. We did not know that God was 
working out in His own way the method by which we 
should best serve human freedom — ^by making this Union 
a great united, indivisible, indestructible instnunent in 
His hands for the accomplishment of these great 

As I came along the streets a few minutes ago my 
heart was full of the thought that this is registration 
day. Will you not support me in feeling that there is 
some significance in this coincidence, that this day, when 
I come to welcome you to the National Capital, is the 
day when men young as you were in those old days, 
when you gathered together to fight, are now registering 
their names as evidence of this great idea, that in a 
democracy the duty to serve and the privilege to serve 
falls upon all alike? 

There is something very fine, my fellow citi- 
zens, in the spirit of the volunteer, but deeper 
than the volunteer spirit is the spirit of obliga- 

There i? not a man of us who must not hold him- 
self ready to be summoned to the duty of supporting 
the great government under which we live. No really 
thoughtful and patriotic man is jealous of that obliga- 
tion. No man who really understands the privilege and 
dignity of being an American citizen quarrels for a 
moment; with the idea that the Congress of the United 
States has the right to call upon whom it will to serve 
the nation. 


These solemn lines of young men going to-day all 
over the union to the places of registration ought to 
be a signal to the world, to those who dare flout the 
dignity and honor and rights of the United States, that 
all her manhood will flock to that standard under which 
we all delight to serve, and that he who challenges the 
rights and principles of the United States challenges the 
united strength and devotion of a nation. 

There are not many things that one desires about 
war, my fellow citizens, but you have come through war ; 
you know how you have been chastened by it, and there 
comes a time when it is good for a nation to know that 
it must sacrifice, if need be, everything that it has to 
vindicate the principles which it professes. 

We have prospered with a sort of heedless and irre- 
sponsible prosperity. Now we are going to lay all our 
wealth, if necessary, and spend all our blood, if need be, 
to show that we were not accmnulating that wealth sel- 
fishly, but were accumulating it for the service of man- 

Men all over the world have thought of the United 
States as a trading and money-getting people, where 
as we who have lived at home know the ideals with 
which the hearts of this people have thrilled; we know 
the sober convictions which have lain at the basis of 
our life all the time, and we know the power and devo- 
tion which can be spent in heroic ways for the service 
of those ideals that we have treasured. 

We have been allowed to become strong in the provi- 
dence of God that our strength might be used to prove 
not our selfishness, but our greatness, and if there is 


any ground for thankfulness in a day like this I am 
thankful for the privilege of self-sacrifice which is the 
only privilege that lends dignity to the hiunan spirit. 
And so it seems to me that we may regard this as 
a very happy day, because a day of reunion, a day of 
noble memories, a day of dedication, a day of the renewal 
of the spirit which has made America great among the 
peoples of the world. 


INGTON, JUNE 14, 1917 

My Fellow Citizens: 

We meet to celebrate Flag Day because this flag 
which we honor and under which we serve is the emblem 
of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as 
a nation. It has no other character than that which 
we give it from generation to generatioiL The choices 
are ours. It floats in majestic silence above the hosts 
that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. 
And yet, though silent, it speaks to us, — speaks to us 
of the past, of the men and women who went before 
us and of the records they wrote upon it. We celebrate 
the day of its birth ; and from its birth until now it has 
witnessed a great history, has floated on high the symbol 
of great events, of a great plan of life worked out by 
a great people. We are about to carry it into battle, 
to lift it where it will draw the fire of our enemies. 
We are about to bid thousands, hundreds of thousands, 
it may be millions, of our men, the young, the strong, 
the capable men of the nation, to go forth and die be- 
neath it on fields of blood far away, — ^for what? For 
some unaccustomed thing? For something for which 
it has never sought the fire before? American armies 
were never before sent across the seas. Why are they 
sent now? For some new purpose, for which this great 
flag has never been carried before, or for some old, 
familiar, heroic purpose for which it has seen men, 



its own men, die on every battlefield upon which Ameri- 
cans have borne arms since the Revolution? 

These are questions which must be answered. We are 
Americans. We in our turn serve America, and can 
serve her with no private purpose. We must use her 
flag as she has always used it. We are accountable at 
the bar of history and must plead in utter frankness 
what purpose it is we seek to serve. 

It is plain enough how we were forced into the war. 
The extraordinary insults and aggressions of the Im-* 
peri^ German Government left us no self-respecting 
choice but to take up arms in defense of our rights as 
a free people and of our honor as a sovereign govern- 
ment. The military masters of Germany denied us the 
right to be neutral. They filled our unsuspecting com- 
munities with vicious spies and conspirators and sought 
to corrupt the opinion of our people in their own behalf. 
When they found that they could not do that, their 
agents diligently spread sedition amongst us and sought 
to draw our own citizens from their allegiance, — and 
some of those agents were men connected with the offi- 
cial Embassy of the German Government itself here 
in our own capital. They sought by violence to destroy 
our industries and arrest our commerce. They tried to 
incite Mexico to take up arms against us and to draw 
Japan into a hostile alliance with her, — and that, not 
by indirection, but by direct suggestion from the For- 
eign Office in Berlin. They impudently denied us the 
use of the high seas and repeatedly executed their threat 
that they would send to their death any of our people 
who ventured to approach the coasts of Europe. And 


many of our own people were corrupted. Men began 
to look upon their own neighbors with suspicion and to 
wonder in their hot resentment and surprise whether 
there was any community in which hostile intrigue did 
not lurk. What great nation in such circumstances 
would not have taken up arms? Much as we had 
desired peace, it was denied us, and not of our own 
choice. This flag under which we serve would have been 
dishonored had we withheld our hand. 

But that is only part of the story. We know now 
as clearly as we knew before we were ourselves engaged 
that we are not the enemies of the German people and 
that they are not our enemies. They did not originate 
or desire this hideous war or wish that we should be 
drawn into itj and we are vaguely conscious that we 
are fighting their cause, as they will some day see it, 
as well as our own. They are themselves in the grip 
of the same sinister power that has now at last stretched 
its ugly talons out and drawn blood from us. The whole 
world is at war because the whole world is in the grip 
of that power and is trying out the great battle which 
shall determine whether it is to be brought under its 
mastery or fling itself free. 

The war was begun by the military masters of Ger- 
many, who proved to be also the masters of Austria- 
Himgary. These men have never regarded nations as 
peoples, men, women, and children of like blood and 
frame as themselves, for whom governments existed and 
in whom governments had their life. They have re- 
garded them merely as serviceable organizations which 
they could by force or intrigue bend or corrupt to their 


own purpose. They have regarded the smaller states, 
in particular, and the peoples who could be overwhelmed 
by force, as their natural tools and instruments of domi- 
nation. Their purpose has long been avowed. The 
statesmen of other nations, to whom that purpose was 
incredible, paid little attention; regarded what German 
professors expounded in their classrooms and German 
writers set forth to the world as the goal of German 
policy as rather the dream of minds detached from 
practical affairs, as preposterous private conceptions 
of German destiny, than as the actual plans of respon- 
sible rulers ; but the rulers of Germany themselves knew 
all the while what concrete plans, what well advanced 
intrigues lay back of what the professors and the writers 
were saying, and were glad to go forward unmolested, 
filling the thrones of Balkan states with German princes, 
putting German officers at the service of Turkey to drill 
her armies and make interest with her government, 
developing plans of sedition and rebellion in India and 
Egypt, setting their fires in Persia. The demands made 
by Austria upon Servia were a mere single step in a 
plan which compassed Europe and Asia, from Berlin 
to Bagdad. They hoped those demands might not arouse 
Europe, but they meant to press them whether they did 
or not, for they thought themselves ready for the final 
issue of arms. 

Their plan was to throw a broad belt of German 
military power and political control across the very 
center of Europe and beyond the Mediterranean into 
the heart of Asia; and Austria-Himgary was to be as 
much their tool and pawn as Servia or Bulgaria or 


Turkey or the ponderous states of the East. Austria- 
Hungary, indeed, was to become part of the central 
German Empire, absorbed and dominated by the same 
forces and influences that had originally cemented the 
German states themselves. The dream had its heart 
at Berlin. It could have had a heart nowhere else! 
It rejected the idea of solidarity of race entirely. The 
choice of peoples played no part in it at all. It con- 
templated binding together racial and political units 
which could be kept together only by force, — Czechs, 
Magyars, Croats, Serbs, Boumanians, Turks, Armenians, 
— the proud states of Bohemia and Hungary, the stout 
little commonwealths of the Balkans, the indomitable 
Turks, the subtile peoples of the East. These peoples 
did not wish to be united. They ardently desired to 
direct their own affairs, would be satisfied only by 
imdisputed independence. They could be kept quiet 
only by the presence or the constant threat of armed 
men. They would live under a common power only by 
sheer compulsion and await the day of revolution. But 
the German military statesmen had reckoned with all 
that and were ready to deal with it in their own way. 
And they have actually carried the greater part of 
that amazing plan into execution I Look how things 
stand. Austria is at their mercy. It has acted, not 
upon its own initiative or upon the choice of its own 
people, but at Berlin's dictation ever since the war 
began. Its people now desire peace, but cannot have 
it until leave is granted from Berlin. The so-called 
Central Powers are in fact but a single Power. Servia 
is at its mercy, should its hands be but for a moment 


freed. Bulgaria has consented to its will, and Rou- 
mania is overrun. The Turkish armies, which Germans 
trained, are serving Germany, certainly not themselves, 
and the guns of German warships lying in the harbor 
at Constantinople remind Turkish statesmen every day 
that they have no choice but to take their orders from 
Berlin. From Hamburg to the Persian Gulf the net is 

Is it not easy to imderstand the eagerness for peace 
that has been manifested from Berlin ever since the 
snare was set and sprung? Peace, peace, peace has 
been the talk of her Foreign Office for now a year and 
more; not peace upon her own initiative, but upon the 
initiative of the nations over which she now deems 
herself to hold the advantage. A little of the talk 
has been public, but most of it has been private. 
Through all sorts of channels it has come to me, and 
in all sorts of guises, but never with the terms dis- 
closed which the German Government would be willing 
to accept. That government has other valuable pawns 
in its hands besides those I have mentioned. It still 
holds a valuable part of France, though with slowly 
relaxing grasp, and practically the whole of Belgium. 
Its armies press close upon Russia and overrun Poland 
at their will. It cannot go further ; it dare not go back. 
It wishes to close its bargain before it is too late and 
it has little left to offer for the pound of flesh it will 

The military masters under whom Germany is bleed- 
ing see very clearly to what point Fate has brought 
them. If they fall back or are forced back an inch, 


their power both abroad and at home will fall to pieces 
like a house of cards. It is their power at home they are 
thinking about now more than their power abroad. 
It is that power which is trembling under their very 
feet; and deep fear has entered their hearts. They 
have but one chance to perpetuate their military power 
or even their controlling political influence. If they 
can secure peace now with the immense advantages still 
in their hands which they have up to this point appar- 
ently gained, they will have justified themselves before 
the German people : they will have gained by force what 
they promised to gain by it: an immense expansion of 
German power, an immense enlargement of (German 
industrial and commercial opportunities. Their prestige 
will be secure, and with their prestige their political 
power. If they fail, their people will thrust them aside ; 
a government accountable to the people themselves will 
be set up in Germany as it has been in England, in the 
United States, in France, and in all the great coun- 
tries of the modem time except Germany. If they suc- 
ceed they are safe and Germany and the world are un- 
done ; if they fail Germany is saved and the world will 
be at peace. If they succeed, America will fall within 
the menace. We and all the rest of the world must 
remain armed, as they will remain, and must make ready 
for the next step in their aggression; if they fail, the 
world may unite for peace and Germany may be of 
the union. 

Do you not now understand the new intrigue, the 
intrigue for peace, and why the masters of Germany 
do not hesitate to use any agency that promises to effect 


their purpose, the deceit of the nations? Their present 
particular aim is to deceive all those who throughout 
the world stand for the rights of peoples and the self- 
government of nations; for they see what immense 
strength the forces of justice and of liberalism are 
gathering out of this war. They are employing liberals 
in their enterprise. They are using men, in Germany 
and without, as their spokesmen whom they have 
hitherto despised and oppressed, using them for their 
own destruction, — socialists, the leaders of labor, the 
thinkers they have hitherto sought to silence. Let them 
once succeed and these men, now their tools, will be 
ground to powder beneath the weight of the great mili- 
tary empire they will have set up ; the revolutionists in 
Bussia wiU be cut off from all succour or co-operation 
in western Europe and a counter revolution fostered 
and supported; Germany herself will lose her chance 
of freedom; and all Europe will arm for the next, the 
final struggle. 

The sinister intrigue is being no less actively con- 
ducted in this country than in Russia and in every 
country in Europe to which the agents and dupes of 
the Imperial German Government can get access. That 
government has many spokesmen here, in places high 
and low. They have learned discretion. They keep 
within the law. It is opinion they utter now, not sedi- 
tion. They proclaim the liberal purposes of their mas- 
ters ; declare this a foreign war which can touch America 
with no danger to either her lands or her institutions; 
set England at the center of the stage and talk of her 
ambition to assert economic dominion throughout the 


world; appeal to our ancient tradition of isolation in 
the politics of the nations; and seek to undermine the 
government with false professions of loyalty to its 

But they will make no headway. The false betray 
themselves always in every accent. It is only friends 
and partisans of the German Government whom we 
have already identified who utter these thinly disguised 
disloyalties. The facts are patent to all the world, and 
nowhere are they more plainly seen than in the United 
States, where we are accustomed to deal with facts and 
not with sophistries ; and the great fact that stands out 
above all the rest is that this is a Peoples' War, a war 
for freedom and justice and self-government amongst 
all the nations of the world, a war to make the world 
safe for the peoples who live upon it and have made 
it their own, the German people themselves included; 
and that with us rests the choice to break through all 
these hypocrisies and patent cheats and masks of brute 
force and help set the world free, or else stand aside 
and let it be dominated a long age through by sheer 
weight of arms and the arbitrary choices of self -consti- 
tuted masters, by the nation which can maintain the 
biggest armies and the most irresistible armaments, — ^a 
power to which the world has afforded no parallel and 
in the face of which political freedom must wither and 

For us there is but one choice. We have made it. 
.Woe be to the man or group of men that seeks to stand 
in our way in this day of high resolution when every 
principle we hold dearest is to be vindicated and made 


secure for the s&lvation of the nations. We are ready 
to plead at the bar of history, and our flag shall wear 
a new luster. Once more we shall make good with our 
lives and fortunes the great faith to which we were 
bom, and a new glory shall shine in the face of our 


On March 15, 1917, the world was startled by the abdication of the Czar 
of all the Rnssias in favor of his brother, the Grand Duke Michael. The Grand 
Duke, however, was unwilling to bear the responsibility which had been too great 
for his brother and to stem the current of revolution which his brother had 
failed to stem. He, therefore, declined the proffered honor. A provisional gor- 
emment was formed, the first recognition of which was made by the United 
States on March 22, 1917. On May 12, 1917, a special diplomatic mission of 
the United States of America, headed by the Honorable Elihu Boot, was sent to 
Russia. President Wilson himself prepared and transmitted to the Provisional 
Government of Russia the following communication. 

In view of the approaching visit of the American 
delegation to Russia to express the deep friendship of 
the American people for the people of Bussia and to 
discuss the best and most practical means of co-opera- 
tion between the two peoples in carrying the present 
struggle for the freedom of all peoples to a successful 
consummation, it seems opportune and appropriate that 
I should state again, in the light of this new partner- 
ship, the objects the United States has had in mind in 
entering the war. Those objects have been very much 
beclouded during the past few weeks by mistaken and 
misleading statements, and the issues at stake are too 
momentous, too tremendous, too significant, for the 
whole human race to permit any misinterpretations or 
misunderstandings, however slight, to remain uncor- 
rected for a moment. 

The war has begun to go against Gtermany, and in 
their desperate desire to escape the inevitable ultimate 
defeat, those who are in authority in Germany are using 



every possible instnunentality, are making use even of 
the influence of groups and parties among their own 
subjects to whom they have never been just or fair, 
or even tolerant, to promote a propaganda on both sides 
of the sea which will preserve for them their influence 
at home and their power abroad, to the undoing of the 
very men they are using. 

The position of America in this war is so clearly 
avowed that no man can be excused for mistaking it. 
She seeks no material profit or aggrandizement of any 
kind. She is fighting for no advantage or selfish object 
of her own, but for the liberation of peoples every- 
where from the aggressions of autocratic force- 

The ruling classes in Germany have begun of late to 
profess a like liberality and justice of purpose, but only 
to preserve the power they have set up in Germany and 
the selfish advantages which they have wrongly gained 
for themselves and their private projects of power all 
the way from Berlin to Bagdad and beyond. Govern- 
ment after government has by their influence, without 
open conquest of its territory, been linked together in 
a net of intrigue directed against nothing less than the 
peace and liberty of the world. The meshes of that 
intrigue must be broken, but cannot be broken unless 
wrongs already done are undone; and adequate meas- 
ures must be taken to prevent it from ever again being 
rewoven or repaired. 

Of course, the Imperial German Government and 
those whom it is using for their own undoing are seek- 
ing to obtain pledges that the war will end in the resto- 
ration of the stattis quo ante. It was the status quo ante 


out of which this iMquitous war issued forth, the power 
of the Imperial Gt^nxiBXi Govennnent within the Empire 
and its widespread domination and influence outside of 
that Empire- That status must be altered in such 
fashion as to prevent any such hideous thing from ever 
happening again. 

We are fighting for the liberty, the self-government, 
and the undictated development of all peoples, and every 
feature of the settlement that concludes this war must 
be conceived and executed for that purpose. Wrongs 
must first be righted and then adequate safeguards 
must be created to prevent their being committed again. 
We ought not to consider remedies merely because they 
have a pleasing and sonorous sound. Practical ques- 
tions can be settled only by practical means. Phrases 
will not accomplish the result. Effective readjustments 
will, and whatever readjustments are necessary must 
be made. 

But they must follow a principle and that prin- 
ciple is plain. No people must be forced under sover- 
eignty under which it does not wish to live. No terri- 
tory must change hands except for the purpose of secur- 
ing those who inhabit it a fair chance of life and 
liberty. No indemnities must be insisted on except those 
that constitute payment for manifest wrongs done. No 
readjustments of power must be made except such as 
will tend to secure the future peace of the world and 
the future welfare and happiness of its peoples. 

And then the free peoples of the world must draw 
together in some common covenant, some genuine and 
practical co-operation that will in effect combine their 


force to secure peace and justice in the dealings of 
nations with one another. The brotherhood of mankind 
must no longer be a fair but empty phrase: it must be 
given a structure of force and reality. The nations must 
realize their common life and effect a workable partner- 
ship to secure that life against the aggressions of auto- 
cratic and self -pleasing power. 

For these things we can afford to pour out blood 
and treasure. For these are the things we have always 
professed to desire, and unless we pour out blood 
and treasure now and succeed, we may never be able 
to unite or show conquering force again in the great 
cause of human liberty. The day has come to conquer 
or submit. If the forces of autocracy can divide us, 
they will overcome us; if we stand together, victory is 
certain and the liberty which victory will secure. We 
can afford then to be generous, but we cannot afford 
then or now to be weak or omit any single guarantee 
of justice and security. 

WooDBOw Wilson. 


POPE, AUGUST 27, 1917 

To His Holiness Benedictus XV, Pope: 

In acknowledgment of the communication of Your 
Holiness to the belligerent peoples, dated August 1, 1917, 
the President of the United States requests me to trans- 
mit the following reply: 

"Every heart that has not been blinded and hardened 
by this terrible war must be touched by this moving 
appeal of His Holiness the Pope, must feel the dignity 
and force of the humane and generous motives which 
prompted it, and must fervently wish that we might 
take the path of peace he so persuasively points out. 
But it would be f oUy to take it if it does not in fact 
lead to the goal he proposes. Our response must be 
based upon the stem facts and upon nothing else. It is 
not a mere cessation of arms he desires; it is a stable 
and enduring peace. This agony must not be gone 
through with again, and it must be a matter of very 
sober judgment what will insure us against it. 

**E[is Holiness in substance proposes that we return 
to the status quo ante helium, and that then there be 
a general condonation, disarmament, and a concert of 
nations based upon an acceptance of the principle of 
arbitration; that by a similar concert freedom of the 
seas be established; and that the territorial claims of 
France and Italy, the perplexing problems of the Balkan 
States, and the restitution of Poland be left to such con- 
ciliatory adjustments as may be possible in the new 
temper of such a peace, due regard being paid to tlie 



aspirations of the peoples whose political fortunes and 
affiliations will be involved. 

**It is manifest that no part of this program can be 
successfully carried out unless the restitution of the 
status quo ante furnishes a firm and satisfactory basis 
for it. The object of this war is to deliver the free 
peoples of the world from the menace and the actual 
power of a vast military establishment controlled by 
an irresponsible government which, having secretly 
planned to dominate the world, proceeded to carry the 
plan out without regard either to the sacred obligations 
of treaty or the long-established practices and long- 
cherished principles of international action and honor; 
which chose its own time for the war ; delivered its blow 
fiercely and suddenly; stopped at no barrier either of 
law or of mercy; swept a whole continent within the 
tide of blood — ^not the blood of soldiers only, but the 
blood of innocent women and children also and of the 
helpless poor; and now stands balked but not defeated, 
the enemy of four-fifths of the world. This power is 
not the German people. It is the ruthless master of 
the German people. It is no business of ours how 
that great people came under its control or submitted 
with temporary zest to the domination of its purpose; 
but it is our business to see to it that the history of the 
rest of the world is no longer left to its handling. 

"To deal with such a power by way of peace upon 
the plan proposed by His Holiness the Pope would, so 
far as we can see, involve a recuperation of its strength 
and a renewal of its policy ; would make it necessary to 
create a permanent hostile combination of nations 
against the German people, who are its instruments; 
and would result in abandoning the new-bom Russia 
to the intrigue, the manifold subtle interference, and 
the certain counter-revolution which would be attempted 


by all the malign influences to which the German Gk)v- 
ernment has of late accustomed the world. Can peace 
be based upon a restitution of its power or upon any 
word of honor it could pledge in a treaty of settlement 
and accommodation? 

** Responsible statesmen must now everywhere see, if 
they never saw before, that no peace can rest securely 
upon political or economic restrictions meant to benefit 
some nations and cripple or embarrass others, upon 
vindictive action of any sort, or any kind of revenge or 
deliberate injury. The American people have suffered 
intolerable wrongs at the hands of the Imperial Gterman 
Government, but they desire no reprisal upon the Ger- 
man people, who have themselves suffered all things in 
this war, which they did not choose. They believe that 
peace should rest upon the rights of peoples, not the 
rights of Gt)vemments — ^the rights of peoples great or 
small, weak or powerful — ^their equal right to freedom 
and security and self-government and to a participa- 
tion upon fair terms in the economic opportunities of 
the world, the German people of course included if they 
will accept equality and not seek domination. 

"The test, therefore, of every plan of peace is this: 
Is it based upon the faith of all the peoples involved 
or merely upon the word of an ambitious and intriguing 
government on the one hand and of a group of free 
peoples, on the other? This is a test which goes to the 
root of the matter; and it is the test which must be 

**The purposes of the United States in this war are 
known to the whole world, to every people to whom 
the truth has been permitted to come. They do not 
need to be stated again. We seek no material advan- 
tage of any kind. We believe that the intolerable 
wrongs done in this war by the furious and brutal power 


of the Imperial German Govermnent ought to be re- 
paired, but not at the expense of the sovereignty of any 
people — rather a vindication of the sovereignty both of 
those that are weak and of those that are strong. Pimi- 
tive damages, the dismemberment of empires, the estab- 
lishment of selfish and exclusive economic leagues, we 
deem inexpedient and in the end worse than futile, no 
proper basis for a peace of any kind, least of all for 
an enduring peace- That must be based upon justice 
and fairness and the common rights of mankind. 

**We cannot take the word of the present rulers of 
Germany as a guarantee of anything that is to endure, 
unless explicitly supported by such conclusive evidence 
of the will and purpose of the German people them- 
selves as the other peoples of the world would be justi- 
fied in accepting. Without such guarantees treaties of 
settlement, agreements for disarmament, covenants to 
set up arbitration in the place of force, territorial ad- 
justments, reconstitutions of small nations, if made with 
the German Government, no man, no nation could now 
depend on. We must await some new evidence of the 
purposes of the great peoples of the Central Powers. 
Ck)d grant it may be given soon and in a way to restore 
the confidence of all peoples everywhere in the faith of 
nations and the possibility of a covenanted peace." 


Secretary of State of the United States 

of America. 

BER 12, 1917 

Mb. PBESiDENTy Delegates of the Amebigan Federa- 
tion OF Labor, Ladies, and Gentlemen: 
I esteem it a great privilege and a real honor to 
be thus admitted to your public counsels. When your 
executive committee paid me the compliment of inviting 
me here I gladly accepted the invitation because it 
seems to me that this, above all other times in our his- 
tory, is the time for common counsel, for the drawing 
together not only of the energies but of the minds of the 
Nation. I thought that it was a welcome opportunity 
for disclosing to you some of the thoughts that have 
been gathering in my mind during the last momentous 

I am introduced to you as the President of the 
United States, and yet I would be pleased if you would 
put the thought of the ofl&ce into the background and 
regard me as one of your fellow citizens who has come 
here to speak, not the words of authority, but the words 
of counsel; the words which men should speak to one 
another who wish to be frank in a moment more critical 
perhaps than the history of the world has ever yet 
known; a moment when it is every man's duty to forget 
himself, to forget his own interests, to fill himself with 
the nobility of a great national and world conception, 


and act upon a new platform elevated above the ordinary 
affairs of life and lifted to where men have views of 
the long destiny of mankind, I think that in order to 
realize just what this moment of counsel is it is very 
desirable that we should remind ourselves just how this 
war came about and just what it is for. You can explain 
most wars very simply, but the explanation of this is 
not so simple- Its roots run deep into all the obscure 
soils of history, and in my view this is the last decisive 
issue between the old principle of power and the new 
principle of freedom. 

The war was started by Germany. Her authorities 
deny that they started it, but I am willing to let the 
statement I have just made await the verdict of history. 
And the thing that needs to be explained is why Gter- 
many started the war. Remember what the position of 
Germany in the world was — ^as enviable a position as 
any nation has ever occupied. The whole world stood 
in admiration of her wonderful intellectual and material 
achievements. All the intellectual men of the world 
went to school to her. As a university man I have been 
surrounded by men trained in Gtermany, men who had 
resorted to Germany because nowhere else could they 
get such thorough and searching training, particularly 
in the principles of science and the principles that under- 
lie modem material achievement. Her men of science 
had made her industries perhaps the most competent 
industries of the world, and the label "Made in Ger- 
many'' was a guarantee of good workmanship and of 
sound material. She had access to all the markets of 
the world, and every other nation who traded in those 


markets feared Germany because of her effective and 
almost irresistible competition. She had a '^ place in 
the sun/' 

Why was she not satisfied? What more did she 
want? There was nothing in the world of peace that 
she did not already have and have in abundance. We 
boast of the extraordinary pace of American advance- 
ment. We show with pride the statistics of the increase 
of our industries and of the population of our cities. 
Well, those statistics did not match the recent statistics 
of Germany. Her old cities took on youth and grew 
faster than any American cities ever grew. Her old 
industries opened their eyes and saw a new world and 
went out for its conquest. And yet the authorities of 
Germany were not satisfied. You have one part of the 
answer to the question why she was not satisfied in 
her methods of competition. There is no important 
industry in Germany upon which the Government has 
not laid its hands, to direct it and, when necessity arose, 
control it; and you have only to ask any man whom 
you meet who is familiar with the conditions that pre- 
vailed before the war in the matter of national compe- 
tition to find out the methods of competition which the 
German manufacturers and exporters used under the 
patronage and support of the Government of (Jermany. 
You will find that they were the same sort of competi- 
tion that we have tried to prevent by law within our 
own borders. If they could not sell their goods cheaper 
than we could sell ours at a profit to themselves they 
could get a subsidy from the Government which made 
it possible to sell them cheaper anyhow, and the condi- 


tions of competition were thus controlled in large meas- 
ure by the German Government itself. 

But that did not satisfy the German Government. 
All the while there was lying behind its thought and in 
its dreams of the future a political control which would 
enable it in the long run to dominate the labor and the 
industry of the world. They were not content with suc- 
cess by superior achievement; they wanted success by 
authority. I suppose very few of you have thought 
much about the Berlin-to-Bagdad Railway. The Berlin- 
Bagdad Railway was constructed in order to run the 
threat of force down the flank of the industrial under- 
takings of half a dozen other countries; so that when 
German competition came in it would not be resisted 
too far, because there was always the possibility of 
getting German armies into the heart of that country 
quicker than any other armies could be got there. 

Look at the map of Europe now I Germany in 
thrusting upon us again and again the discussion of 
peace talks — about what? Talks about Belgium; talks 
about northern France; talks about Alsace-Lorraine. 
Well, those are deeply interesting subjects to us and 
to them, but they are not the heart of the matter. 
Take the map and look at it. Germany has abso- 
lute control of Austria-Hungary, practical control of 
the Balkan States, control of Turkey, control of Asia 
Minor. I saw a map in which the whole thing was 
printed in appropriate black the other day, and 
the black stretched all the way from Hamburg to 
Bagdad — ^the bulk of German power inserted into the 
heart of the world. If she can keep that, she has kept 


all that her dreams contemplated when the war began. 
If she can keep that, her power can disturb the world 
as long as she keeps it, always provided, for I feel 
bound to put this proviso in — always provided the pres- 
ent influences that control the German Government con- 
tinue to control it, I believe that the spirit of freedom 
can get into the hearts of Germans and find as fine a 
welcome there as it can find in any other hearts, but 
the spirit of freedom does not suit the plans of the 
Pan-Germans, Power cannot be used with concentrated 
force against free peoples if it is used by free 

You know how many intimations come to us from 
one of the central powers that it is more anxious for 
peace than the chief central power, and you know that 
it means that the people in that central power know 
that if the war ends as it stands they will in effect 
themselves be vassals of Germany, notwithstanding that 
their populations are compounded of all the peoples 
of that part of the world, and notwithstanding the fact 
that they do not wish in their pride and proper spirit 
of nationality to be so absorbed and dominated. Ger- 
many is determined that the political power of the 
world shall belong to her. There have been such ambi- 
tions before. They have been in part realized, but 
never before have those ambitions been based upon so 
exact and precise and scientific a plan of domination. 

May I not say that it is amazing to me that any 
group of persons should be so ill-informed as to sup- 
pose, as some groups in Russia apparently suppose, 
that any reforms planned in the interest of the people 


can live in the presence of a Germany powerful enough 
to undermine or overthrow them by intrigue or force? 
Any body of free men that compounds with the present 
German Government is compounding for its own 
destruction. But that is not the whole of the story. 
Any man in America or anywhere else that supposes 
that the free industry and enterprise of the world can 
continue if the Pan-German plan is achieved and Ger- 
man power fastened upon the world is as fatuous as 
the dreamers in Russia. What I am opposed to is not 
the feeling of the pacifists, but their stupidity. My 
heart is with them, but my mind has a contempt for 
them. I want peace, but I know how to get it, and 
they do not. 

You will notice that I sent a friend of mine. Col. 
House, to Europe, who is as great a lover of peace as 
any man in the world; but I didn't send him on a peace 
mission yet. I sent him to take part in a conference 
as to how the war was to be won, and he knows, as I 
know, that that is the way to get peace, if you want 
it for more than a few minutes. 

All of this is a preface to the conference that I have 
referred to with regard to what we are going to do. 
If we are true friends of freedom, our own or any- 
body else's, we will see that the power of this country 
and the productivity of this country is raised to its 
absolute maximum, and that absolutely nobody is allowed 
to stand in the way of it. When I say that nobody is 
allowed to stand in the way I do not mean that they 
shall be prevented by the power of the Government but 
by the power of the American spirit. Our duty, if we 


are to do this great thing and show America to be 
what we believe her to be — ^the greatest hope and energy 
of the world — is to stand together night and day until 
the job is finished. 

While we are fighting for freedom we must see, 
among other things, that labor is free; and that means 
a niunber of interesting things. It means not only that 
we must do what we have declared our purpose to do, 
see that the conditions of labor are not rendered more 
onerous by the war, but also that we shall see to it that 
the instrumentalities by which the conditions of labor 
are improved are not blocked or checked. That we 
must do. That has been the matter about which I have 
taken pleasure in conferring from time to time with 
your president, Mr. Gompers ; and if I may be permitted 
to do so, I want to express my admiration of his patri- 
otic courage, his large vision, and his statesmanlik 
sense of what has to be done. I like to lay my min 
alongside of a mind that knows how to pull in harness^ 
The horses that kick over the traces will have to 
put in corral. 

Now, to stand together means that nobody 
interrupt the processes of our energy if the interrup- 
tion can possibly be avoided without the absolut^^ 
invasion of freedom. To put it concretely, that mean^s^ 
this : Nobody has a right to stop the processes of laboE*^^ 
until all the methods of conciliation and settlement*'^ 
have been exhausted. And I might as well say right^'J 
here that I am not talking to you alone. You some — ^ 
times stop the courses of labor, but there are others^^ 
who do the same, and I believe I am speaking from^^ 


my own experience not only, but from the experi- 
ence of others, when I say that you are reasonable in 
a larger number of cases than the capitalists. I am not 
saying these things to them personally yet, because I 
have not had a chance, but they have to be said, not in 
any spirit of criticism, but in order to clear the atmos- 
phere and come down to business. Everybody on both 
sides has now got to transact business, and a settlement 
is never impossible when both sides want to do the 
square and right thing. 

Moreover, a settlement is always hard to avoid when 
the parties can be brought face to face. I can diflfer 
from a man much more radically when he is not in the 
room than I can when he is in the room, because then 
the awkward thing is he can come back at me and answer 
what I say. It is always dangerous for a man to have 
the floor entirely to himself. Therefore, we must insist 
in every instance that the parties come into each other's 
presence and there discuss the issues between them and 
not separately in places which have no communication 
with each other. I always like to remind myself of a 
delightful saying of an Englishman of the past gener- 
ation, Charles Lamb. He stuttered a little bit, and once 
when he was with a group of friends he spoke very 
harshly of some man who was not present. One of his 
friends said: **Why, Charles, I didn't know that you 
knew so and so.'' **0-o-oh," he said, **I-I d-d-don 't; 
I-I can't h-h-hate a m-m-man I-I know." There is a 
great deal of hiunan nature, of very pleasant human 
nature, in the saying. It is hard to hate a man you 
know. I may admit, parenthetically, that there are 


some politicians whose methods I do not at all believe 
in, but they are jolly good fellows, and if they only 
would not talk the wrong kind of politics, I would love 
to be with them. 

So it is all along the line, in serious matters and 
things less serious. We are all of the same clay and 
spirit, and we can get together if we desire to get 
together. Therefore, my counsel to you is this : Let us 
show ourselves Americans by showing that we do not 
want to go off in separate camps or groups by our- 
selves, but that we want to co-operate with all other 
classes and all other groups in the common enterprise 
which is to release the spirits of the world from bondage. 
I would be willing to set that up as the final test of 
an American. That is the meaning of democracy. I 
have been very much distressed, my fellow citizens, by 
some of the things that have happened recently. The 
mob spirit is displaying itself here and there in this 
country. I have no sympathy with what some men are 
saying, but I have no sympathy with the men who take 
their punishment into their own hands; and I want to 
say to every man who does join such a mob that I do 
not recognize him as worthy of the free institutions of 
the United States. There are some organizations in this 
country whose object is anarchy and the destruction of 
law, but I would not meet their efforts by making 
myself partner in destroying the law. I despise and 
hate their purposes as much as any man, but I respect 
the ancient processes of justice; and I would be too 
proud not to see them done justice, however wrong 
they are. 


So I want to utter my earnest protest against any 
manifestation of the spirit of lawlessness anywhere or 
in any cause. Why, gentlemen, look what it means. 
We claim to be the greatest democratic people in the 
world, and democracy means first of all that we can 
govern ourselves. If our men have not self-control, then 
they are not capable of that great thing which we call 
democratic government. A man who takes the law into 
his own hands is not the right man to co-operate in any 
formation or development of law and institutions, and 
some of the processes by which the struggle between 
capital and labor is carried on are processes that come 
very near to taking the law into your own hands. I do 
not mean for a moment to compare them with what I 
have just been speaking of, but I want you to see that 
they are mere gradations in this manifestation of the 
imwillingness to co-operate, and that the fundamental 
lesson of the whole situation is that we must not only 
take common counsel, but that we must yield to and 
obey common counsel. Not all of the instnmientalities 
for this are at hand. I am hopeful that in the very 
near future new instrumentalities may be organized 
by which we can see to it that various things that are 
now going on ought not to go on. There are various 
processes of the dilution of labor and the unnecessary 
substitution of labor and the bidding in distant markets 
and unfairly upsetting the whole competition of labor 
which ought not to go on. I mean now on the part of 
employers, and we must interject some instrumentality 
of co-operation by which the fair thing will be done 
all around. I am hopeful that some such instrumen- 


talities may be devised, but whether they are or not, 
we must use those that we have and upon every occasion 
where it is necessary have such an instrumentality 
originated upon that occasion. 

So, my fellow citizens, the reason I came away from 
Washington is that I sometimes get lonely down there. 
So many people come to Washington who know things 
that are not so, and so few people who know anything 
about what the people of the United States are think- 
ing about. I have to come away and get reminded 
of the rest of the country. I have to come away and 
talk to men who are up against the real thing, and 
say to them, **I am with you if you are with me." 
And the only test of being with me is not to think 
about me personally at all, but merely to think of me 
as the expression for the time being of the power and 
dignity and hope of the United States. 


NOVEMBER 16, 1917 

Northwest Loyalty Meetings, 

' St. Paul, Minn., 
R. W. Hargadine, Secretary. 

Nothing could be more significant than your gather- 
ing to express the loyalty of the Great Northwest. If it 
were possible I should gladly be with you. You have 
leome together as the representatives of that Western 
Empire in which the sons of all sections of America 
and the stocks of aU the nations of Europe have made 
the prairie and the forest the home of a new race and 
the temple of a new faith. 

The time has come when that home must be protected 
and that faith afl&rmed in deeds. Sacrifice and service 
must come from every class, every profession, every 
party, every race, every creed, every section. This is 
not a banker's war or a farmer's war or a manufac- 
turer's war or a laboring man's war — ^it is a war for 
every straight-out American whether our flag be his 
by birth or by adoption. 

We are to-day a Nation in arms and we must fight 
and farm, mine and manufacture, conserve food and 
fuel, save and spend to the one common purpose. It is 
to the Great Northwest that the Nation looks, as once 
before in critical days, for that steadiness of purpose 
and firmness of determination which shall see this 
struggle through to a decision that shall make the 
masters of Germany rue the day they unmasked their 
purpose and challenged our Republic. 



His Majesty Albert, 

King of the Belgians, Havre. 

I take pleasure in extending to Your Majesty greet- 
ings of friendship and good will on this your fete day. 

For the people of the United States, I take this 
occasion to renew expressions of deep sympathy for the 
sufferings which Belgium has endured under the willful, 
cruel, and barbaric force of a disappointed Prussian 

The people of the United States were never more 
in earnest than in their determination to prosecute to a 
successful conclusion this war against that power and 
to secure for the future, obedience to the laws of nations 
and respect for the rights of humanity. 









DECEMBER 4, 1917 

In his address to the Congress of April 2, 1917, President Wilson referred 
to the grievances which this country had against the Austro-Hungarian Govem- 
ment, and stated that "that Government has not actually engaged in warfare 
against citizens of the United States on the seas, and I take the liberty, for the 
present at least, of postponing a discussion of our relations with the authorities 
at Vienna. We enter this war only where we are clearly forced into it because 
there are no other means of defending our rights." As, however, events proved, 
in the language of the Austrian poet, Friedrich Halm, that Germany and Austria- 
Hungary are 

" Two souls with but a single thought. 
Two hearts that beat as one," 

the President reluctantly reached the conclusion that a state of war should be 
declared to exist between the United States and the Austro-Hungarian Govern- 
ment. He therefore recommended it in his address to the Congress of December 
4th, and on December 7th that body gave effect to his recommendation as follows : 
"Whereas, The Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Government has 
committed repeated acts of war against the Government and the people of the 
United States of America, therefore be it 

"Resolved hy the Senate oiid Houee of Repreeentativee of the United 
States of America in Congreee auemhled. That a state of war is hereby de- 
clared to exist between the United States of America and the Imperial and 
Royal Austro-Hungarian Government, and that the President be and he is 
hereby, authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military 
forces of the United States and resources of the Government to carry on war 
against the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Government; and to bring 
the conflict to a successful termination all the resources of the country are 
hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States. 

Gentlemen of the Congress : 

Eight months have elapsed since I last had the honor 
of addressing you. They have been months crowded 



with events of inmieiise and grave significance for ns. I 
shall not undertake to retail or even to summarize those 
events. The practical particulars of the part we have 
played in them will be laid before you in the reports of 
the Executive Departments. I shaU discuss only our 
present outlook upon these vast affairs, our present 
duties, and the immediate means of accomplishing the 
objects we shall hold always in view. 

I shall not go back to debate the causes of the war. 
The intolerable wrongs done and planned against us by 
the sinister masters of Germany have long since become 
too grossly obvious and odious to every true American 
to need to be rehearsed. But I shaU ask you to consider 
again and with a very grave scrutiny our objectives and 
the measures by which we mean to attain them; for the 
purpose of discussion here in this place is action, and 
our action must move straight towards definite ends. 
Our object is, of course, to win the war; and we shall 
not slacken or suffer ourselves to be diverted until it is 
won. But it is worth while asking and answering the 
question. When shall we consider the war won? 

From one point of view it is not necessary to broach 
this fundamental matter. I do not doubt that the 
American people know what the war is about and what 
sort of an outcome they will regard as a realization of 
their purpose in it. As a nation we are united in spirit 
and intention. I pay little heed to those who teU me 
otherwise. I hear the voices of dissent, — ^who does not! 
I hear the criticism and the clamor of the noisily 
thoughtless and troublesome. I also see men here and 
there fling themselves in impotent disloyalty against the 


calm, indomitable power of the nation. I hear men 
debate peace who miderstand neither its nature nor the 
way in which we may attain it with uplifted eyes and 
unbroken spirits. But I know that none of these speaks 
for the nation. They do not touch the heart of any- 
thing. They may safely be left to strut their uneasy 
hour and be forgotten. 

But from another point of view I believe that it is 
necessary to say plainly what we here at the seat of 
action consider the war to be for and what part we mean 
to play in the settlement of its searching issues. We are 
the spokesmen of the American p'eople and they have a 
right to know whether their purpose is ours. They de- 
sire peace by the overcoming of evil, by the defeat once 
for all of the sinister forces that interrupt peace and 
render it impossible, and they wish to know how closely 
our thought runs with theirs and what action we pro- 
pose. They are impatient with those who desire peace 
by any sort of compromise, — deeply and indignantly im- 
patient, — but they will be equally impatient with us if 
we do not make it plain to them what our objectives are 
and what we are planning for in seeking to make con- 
quest of peace by arms. 

I believe that I speak for them when I say two 
things: First, that this intolerable Thing of which the 
masters of Germany have shown us the ugly face, this 
menace of combined intrigue and force which we now see 
so clearly as the German power, a Thing without con- 
science or honor or capacity for covenanted peace, must 
be crushed and, if it be not utterly brought to an end, at 
least shut out from the friendly intercourse of the na- 


.tions ; and, second, that when this Thing and its power 
are indeed defeated and the time comes that we can dis- 
cuss peace, — ^when the German people have spokesmen 
whose word we can believe and when those spokesmen 
are ready in the name of their people to accept the com- 
mon judgment of the nations as to what shall henceforth 
be the bases of law and of covenant for the life of the 
world, — ^we shall be willing and glad to pay the full 
price for peace, and pay it ungrudgingly. We know 
what that price will be. It will be full, impartial jus- 
tice, — ^justice done at every point and to every nation 
that the final settlement must affect, our enemies as well 
as our friends. 

You catch, with me, the voices of humanity that are 
in the air. They grow daily more audible, more articu- 
late, more persuasive, and they come from the hearts of 
men everywhere. They insist that the war shall not end 
in vindictive action of any kind ; that no nation or peo- 
ple shall be robbed or punished because the irresponsible 
rulers of a single country have themselves done deep 
and abominable wrong. It is this thought that has been 
expressed in the formula **No annexations, no contribu- 
tions, no punitive indemnities.'' Just because this crude 
formula expresses the instinctive judgment as to right 
of plain men everywhere it has been made diligent use 
of by the masters of German intrigue to lead the people 
of Russia astray — and the people of every other country 
their agents could reach, in order that a premature peace 
might be brought about before autocracy has been taught 
its final and convincing lesson, and the people of the 
world put in control of their own destinies. 


But the fact that a wrong use has been made of a just 
idea is no reason why a right use should not be made 
of it. It ought to be brought under the patronage of its 
real friends. Let it be said again that autocracy must 
first be shown the utter futility of its claims to power or 
leadership in the modern world. It is impossible to 
apply any standard of justice so long as such forces are 
unchecked and undefeated as the present masters of Ger- 
many command. Not until that has been done can Bight 
be set up as arbiter and peace-maker among the nations. 
But when that has been done, — ^as, Gtod willing, it as- 
suredly will be, — ^we shall at last be free to do an un- 
precedented thing, and this is the time to avow our 
purpose to do it. We shall be free to base peace 
on generosity and justice, to the exclusion of all 
selfish claims to advantage even on the part of the 

Let there be no misunderstanding. Our present and 
immediate task is to win the war, and nothing shall turn 
us aside from it until it is accomplished. Every power 
and resource we possess, whether of men, of money, or 
of materials, is being devoted and will continue to be 
devoted to that purpose until it is achieved. Those who 
desire to bring peace about before that purpose is 
achieved I counsel to carry their advice elsewhere. We 
will not entertain it. We shall regard the war as won 
only when the German people say to us, through properly 
accredited representatives, that they are ready to agree 
to a settlement based upon justice and the reparation of 
the wrongs their rulers have done. They have done a 
wrong to Belgium which must be repaired. They have 


established a power over other lands and peoples than 
their own,— over the great Empire of Austria-Hungary, 
over hitherto free Balkan states, over Turkey, and within 
Asia, — ^which must be relinquished. 

Germany's success by skill, by industry, by knowl- 
edge, by enterprise we did not grudge or oppose, but 
admired, rather. She had built up for herself a real 
empire of trade and influence, secured by the peace of 
the world. We were content to abide the rivalries of 
manufacture, science, and commerce that were involved 
for us in her success and stand or fall as we had or did 
not have the brains and the initiative to surpass her. 
But at the moment when she had conspicuously won her 
triumphs of peace she threw them away, to establish in 
their stead what the world will no longer permit to be 
established, military and political domination by arms, 
by which to oust where she could not excel the rivals she 
most feared and hated. The peace we make must remedy 
that wrong. It must deliver the once fair lands and 
happy peoples of Belgiiun and northern France from the 
Prussian conquest and the Prussian menace, but it must 
also deliver the peoples of Austria-Hungary, the peo- 
ples of the Balkans, and the peoples of Turkey, alike 
in Europe and in Asia, from the impudent and alien 
dominion of the Prussian military and commercial 

We owe it, however, to ourselves to say that we do 
not wish in any way to impair or to rearrange the 
Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is no affair of ours what 
they do with their own life, either industrially or politi- 
cally. We do not purpose or desire to dictate to them in 


any way. We only desire to see that their affairs are 
left in their own hands, in all matters, great or small. 
We shall hope to secure for the peoples of the Balkan 
peninsula and for the people of the Turkish Empire the 
right and opportunity to make their own lives safe, their 
own fortunes secure against oppression or injustice and 
from the dictation of foreign courts or parties. 

And our attitude and purpose with regard to Ger- 
many herself are of a like kind. We intend no wrong 
against the German Empire, no interference with her in- 
ternal affairs. We should deem either the one or the 
other absolutely unjustifiable, absolutely contrary to the 
principles we have professed to live by and to hold most 
sacred throughout our life as a nation. 

The people of Germany are being told by the men 
whom they now permit to deceive them and to act as 
their masters that they are fighting for the very life 
and existence of their Empire, a war of desperate self- 
defense against deliberate aggression. Nothing could 
be more grossly or wantonly false, and we must seek by 
the utmost openness and candor as to our real aims to 
convince them of its falseness. We are in fact fighting 
for their emancipation from fear, along with our own, — 
from the fear as weU as from the fact of unjust attack 
by neighbors or rivals or schemers after world empire. 
No one is threatening the existence or the independence 
or the peaceful enterprise of the German Empire. 

The worst that can happen to the detriment of the 
German people is this, that if they should still, after 
the war is over, continue to be obliged to live under am- 
bitious and intriguing masters interested to disturb the 


peace of the world, men or classes of men whom the 
other peoples of the world could not trust, it might be 
impossible to admit them to the partnership of nations 
which must henceforth guarantee the world's peace. 
That partnership must be a partnership of peoples, not 
a mere partnership of governments. It might be impos- 
sible, also, in such untoward circumstances, to admit 
Germany to the free economic intercourse which must 
inevitably spring out of the other partnerships of a real 
peace. But there would be no aggression in that; and 
such a situation, inevitable because of distrust, would 
in the very nature of things sooner or later cure itself, 
by processes which would assuredly set in. 

The wrongs, the very deep wrongs, committed in this 
war will have to be righted. That of course. But they 
cannot and must not be righted by the commission of 
similar wrongs against Germany and her allies. The 
world will not permit the commission of similar wrongs 
as a means of reparation and settlement. Statesmen 
must by this time have learned that the opinion of the 
world is everywhere wide awake and fully comprehends 
the issues involved. No representative of any self- 
governed nation will dare disregard it by attempting 
any such covenants of selfishness and compromise as 
were entered into at the Congress of Vienna. The 
thought of the plain people here and everywhere 
throughout the world, the people who enjoy no privilege 
and have very simple and unsophisticated standards of 
right and wrong, is the air all governments must hence- 
forth breathe if they would live. It is in the full dis- 
closing light of that thought that all policies must be 


conceived and executed in this midday hour of the 
world's life. German rulers have been able to upset the 
peace of the world only because the German people were 
not suffered under their tutelage to share the comrade- 
ship of the other peoples of the world either in thought 
or in purpose. They were allowed to have no opinion 
of their own which might be set up as a rule of conduct 
for those who exercised authority over them. But the 
congress that concludes this war will feel the full 
strength of the tides that run now in the hearts and 
consciences of free men everywhere. Its conclusion will 
run with those tides. 

All these things have been true from the very begin- 
ning of this stupendous war ; and I cannot help thinking 
that if they had been made plain at the very outset the 
sympathy and enthusiasm of the Bussian people might 
have been once for all enlisted on the side of the Allies, 
suspicion and distrust swept away, and a real and last- 
ing union of purpose effected. Had they believed these 
things at the very moment of their revolution and had 
they been confirmed in that belief since, the sad reverses 
which have recently marked the progress of their affairs 
towards an ordered and stable government of free men 
might have been avoided. The Russian people have been 
poisoned by the very same falsehoods that have kept the 
German people in the dark, and the poison has been ad- 
ministered by the very same hands. The only possible 
antidote is the truth. It cannot be uttered too plainly 
or too often. 

From every point of view, therefore, it has seemed 
to be my duty to speak these declarations of purpose, to 


add these specific interpretations to what I took the lib- 
erty of saying to the Senate in January. Our entrance 
into the war has not altered our attitude towards the 
settlement that must come when it is over. When I said 
in January that the nations of the world were entitled 
not only to free pathways upon the sea but also to as- 
sured and unmolested access to those pathways I was 
thinking, and I am thinking now, not of the smaller and 
weaker nations alone, which need our countenance and 
support, but also of the great and powerful nations, 
and of our present enemies as well as our present asso- 
ciates in the war. I was thinking, and am thinking 
now, of Austria herself, among the rest, as well as of 
Serbia and of Poland. Justice and equality of rights 
can be had only at a great price. We are seeking 
permanent, not temporary, foundations for the peace 
of the world and must seek them candidly and fear- 
lessly. As always, the right will prove to be the 

What shall we do, then, to push this great war of 
freedom and justice to its righteous conclusion? We 
must clear away with a thorough hand all impediments 
to success and we must make every adjustment of law 
that will facilitate the full and free use of our whole 
capacity and force as a fighting unit. 

One very embarrassing obstacle that stands in our 
way is that we are at war with Germany but not with 
her allies. I therefore very earnestly recommend that 
the Congress immediately declare the United States in a 
state of war with Austria-Hungary. Does it seem 
strange to you that this should be the conclusion of the 


argument I have just addressed to you ? It is not. It is 
in fact the inevitable logic of what I have said. Austria- 
Hungary is for the time being not her own mistress but 
simply the vassal of the German Government. We must 
face the facts as they are and act upon them without 
sentiment in this stem business. The government of 
Austria-Hungary is not acting upon its own initiative 
or in response to the wishes and feelings of its own peo- 
ples but as the instrument of another nation. We must 
meet its force with our own and regard the Central 
Powers as but one. The war can be successfully con- 
ducted in no other way. The same logic would lead 
also to a declaration of war against Turkey and Bul- 
garia. They also are the tools of Germany. But they 
are mere tools and do not yet stand in the direct path of 
our necessary action. We shall go wherever the necessi- 
ties of this war carry us, but it seems to me that we 
should go only where immediate and practical considera- 
tions lead us and not heed any others. 

The financial and military measures which must be 
adopted will suggest themselves as the war and its under- 
takings develop, but I will take the liberty of proposing 
to you certain other acts of legislation which seem to me 
to be needed for the support of the war and for the 
release of our whole force and energy. 

It will be necessary to extend in certain particulars 
the legislation of the last session with regard to alien 
enemies; and also necessary, I believe, to create a very 
definite and particular control over the entrance and 
departure of all persons into and from the United 


Legislation should be enacted defining as a criminal 
offense every willful violation of the presidential procla- 
mations relating to alien enemies promulgated imder 
section 4067 of the Revised Statutes and providing ap- 
propriate pimishments ; and women as well as men should 
be included under the terms of the acts placing restraints 
upon alien enemies. It is likely that as time goes on 
many alien enemies will be willing to be fed and housed 
at the expense of the Government in the detention camps 
and it would be the purpose of the legislation I have 
suggested to confine offenders among them in penitenti- 
aries and other similar institutions where they could be 
made to work as other criminals do. 

Recent experience has convinced me that the Con- 
gress must go further in authorizing the (Government to 
set limits to prices. The law of supply and demand, I 
am sorry to say, has been replaced by the law of unre- 
strained selfishness. While we have eliminated profiteer- 
ing in several branches of industry it still runs impu- 
dently rampant in others. The farmers, for example, 
complain with a great deal of justice that, while the 
regulation of f obd prices restricts their incomes, no re- 
straints are placed upon the prices of most of the things 
they must themselves purchase; and similar inequities 
obtain on all sideS. 

It is imperatively necessary that the consideration 
of the full use of the water power of the country and 
also the consideration of the systematic and yet economi- 
cal development of such of the natural resources of the 
country as are still under the control of the federal gov- 
ernment should be immediately resumed and affirma- 


Congress our whole attention and energy should be con- 
centrated on the vigorous, rapid, and successful prosecu- 
tion of the great task of winning the war. 

We can do this with all the greater zeal and enthusi- 
asm because we know that for us this is a war of high 
principle, debased by no selfish ambition of conquest or 
spoliation; because we know, and all the world knows, 
that we have been forced into it to save the very institu- 
tions we live under from corruption and destruction. 
The purposes of the Central Powers strike straight at 
the very heart of everything we believe in; their meth- 
ods of warfare outrage every principle of hiunanity and 
of knightly honor ; their intrigue has corrupted the very 
thought and spirit of many of our people ; their sinister 
and secret diplomacy has sought to take our very terri- 
tory away from us and disrupt the Union of the States. 
Our safety would be at an end, our honor forever sullied 
and brought into contempt were we to permit their 
triiunph. They are striking at the very existence of 
democracy and liberty. 

It is because it is for us a war of high, disinterested 
purpose, in which all the free peoples of the world are 
banded together for the vindication of right, a war for 
the preservation of our nation and of all that it has held 
dear of principle and of purpose, that we feel ourselves 
doubly constrained to propose for its outcome only that 
which is righteous and of irreproachable intention, for 
our foes as well as for our friends. The cause being 
just and holy, the settlement must be of like motive 
and quality. For this we can fight, but for nothing less 
noble or less worthy of our traditions. For this cause 


we enter the war and for this cause will we battle until 
the last gun is fired. 

I have spoken plainly because this seems to me the 
time when it is most necessary to speak plainly, in order 
that all the world may know that even in the heat and 
ardor of the struggle and when our whole thought is of 
carrying the war through to its end we have not forgot- 
ten any ideal or principle for which the name of America 
has been held in honor among the nations and for which 
it has been our glory to contend in the great generations 
that went before us. A supreme moment of history has 
come. The eyes of the people have been opened and 
they see. The hand of God is laid upon the nations. He 
will show them favor, I devoutly believe, only if they 
rise to the dear heights of His own justice and mercy* 




JANUARY 8, 1918 

The Czar of Russia was, to the outward world at least, unexpectedly forced 
to abdicate on March 15, 1917. Two days later his brother, the Grand Duke 
Michael, in whose favor he had abdicated, renounced whatever title the late Cxar 
had to convey. A provisional government was formed, which was recognized by 
the United States on March 22, which, with various changes, maintained itself 
in power, pursuing a checicered course between the extreme radicals and social- 
ists, on the one hand, and what ^might be called the conservative or moderate 
party, on the other. 

On November 7, 1917, the radical elements of the socialist party, called 
Bolsheviki (meaning the majority party), led by Nikolai Lenine, who had united 
under his leadership the extreme elements, came into power and immediately 
made overtures for an armistice and a peace with Germany and its allies, invit- 
ing the other belligerents to do likewise and stating the conditions upon which 
a general peace should be made. An armistice was concluded with Germany 
and its allies on December 15, 1917, to last to January 14, 1918, and two days 
before its expiration a further armistice was agreed upon for a month. R^re- 
sentatives of the Bolshevist government met representatives of Germany and 
its allies at Brest-Litovsk to discuss the terms of peace. 

Germany's enemies, however, refused to consider the terms stated by the 
Bolshevik government, and on January 5, 1918, during the Russo-German n^o- 
tiations, Mr. Lloyd Qeorge, Prime Minister of Great Britain, delivered an ad- 
dress before the Labor Conference on Man-Power in London, in which he out- 
lined, after consulting the self-governing dominions of the British Empire, and 
undoubtedly after an exchange of views with Britain's allies, the terms and 
conditions of peace which Great Britain would consider. Three days later, under 
these circtunstances, when Russia had withdrawn from the war and was in 
conference with the representatives of Germany and its allies, and after Mr. 
Lloyd George had stated the terms and conditions of peace as they appeared 
to a European statesman, President Wilson, on January 8, 1918, delivered the 
following address, in which, after paying particular attention to the Russian 
situation and expressing sympathy for the Russian people in the crisis through 
which they were passing, he announced his agreement with the aims and pur- 
poses of the countries allied against Germany, thus showing the allied govern- 
ments to be in perfect accord. 

Gentlemen of the Congress : 

Once more, as repeatedly before, the spokesmen of the 
Central Empires have indicated their desire to discuss 



the objects of the war and the possible bases of a general 
peace. Parleys have been in progress at Brest-Litovsk 
between Russian representatives and representatives of 
the Central Powers to which the attention of all the bel- 
ligerents has been invited for the purpose of ascertaining 
whether it may be possible to extend these parleys into a 
general conference with regard to terms of peace and set- 
tlement. The Russian representatives presented not only 
a perfectly definite statement of the principles upon 
which they would be willing to conclude peace but also 
an equally definite program of the concrete application 
of those principles. The representatives of the Central 
Powers, on their part, presented an outline of settlement 
which, if much less definite, seemed susceptible of liberal 
interpretation until their specific program of practical 
terms was added. That program proposed no conces- 
sions at all either to the sovereignty of Russia or to the 
preferences of the populations with whose fortunes it 
dealt, but meant, in a word, that the Central Empires 
were to keep every foot of territory their armed forces 
had occupied, — every province, every city, every point of 
vantage, — ^as a permanent addition to their territories 
and their power. It is a reasonable conjecture that the 
general principles of settlement which they at first sug- 
gested originated with the more liberal statesmen of 
Germany and Austria, the men who have begun to feel 
the force of their own peoples' thought and purpose, 
while the concrete terms of actual settlement came from 
the military leaders who have no thought but to keep 
what they have got. The negotiations have been broken 
off. The Russian representatives were sincere and in 


earnest. They cannot entertain such proposals of con- 
quest and domination. 

The whole incident is full of significance. It is also 
full of perplexity. With whom are the Russian repre- 
sentatives dealing? For whom are the representatives 
of the Central Empires speaking? Are they speaking 
for the majorities of their respective parliaments or for 
the minority parties, that military and imperialistic 
minority which has so far dominated their whole policy 
and controlled the affairs of Turkey and of the Balkan 
states which have felt obliged to become their associates 
in this war ? The Russian representatives have insisted, 
very justly, very wisely, and in the true spirit of modem 
democracy, that the conferences they have been holding 
with Teutonic and Turkish statesmen should be held 
within open, not closed, doors, and all the world has been 
audience, as was desired. To whom have we been listen- 
ing, then? To those who speak the spirit and intention 
of the Resolutions of the German Reichstag of the ninth 
of July last, the spirit and intention of the liberal leaders 
and parties of Germany, or to those who resist and defy 
that spirit and intention and insist upon conquest and 
subjugation? Or are we listening, in fact, to both, un- 
reconciled and in open and hopeless contradiction? 
These are very serious and pregnant questions. Upon 
the answer to them depends the peace of the world. 

But, whatever the results of the parleys at Brest- 
Litovsk, whatever the confusions of coimsel and of pur- 
pose in the utterances of the spokesmen of the Central 
Empires, they have again attempted to acquaint the 
world with their objects in the war and have again chal- 


lenged their adversaries to say what their objects are and 
what sort of settlement they would deem just and satis- 
factory. There is no good reason why that challenge 
should not be responded to, and responded to with the 
utmost candor. We did not wait for it. Not once, but 
again and again, we have laid our whole thought and 
purpose before the world, not in general terms only, but 
each time with sufficient definition to make it clear what 
sort of definitive terms of settlement must necessarily 
spring out of them. Within the last week Mr. Lloyd 
George has spoken with admirable candor and in ad- 
mirable spirit for the people and Government of Great 
Britain. There is no confusion of counsel among the 
adversaries of the Central Powers, no uncertainty of 
principle, no vagueness of detail. The only secrecy of 
counsel, the only lack of fearless frankness, the only 
failure to make definite statement of the objects of the 
war, lies with Germany and her Allies. The issues of 
life and death hang upon these definitions. No states- 
man who has the least conception of his responsibility 
ought for a moment to permit himself to continue this 
tragical and appalling outpouring of blood and treasure 
unless he is sure beyond a peradventure that the objects 
of the vital sacrifice are part and parcel of the very life 
of Society and that the people for whom he speaks think 
them right and imperative as he does. 

There is, moreover, a voice calling for these defini- 
tions of principle and of purpose which is, it seems to 
me, more thrilling and more compelling than any of the 
many moving voices with which the troubled air of the 
world is filled. It is the voice of the Russian people. 


They are prostrate and all but helpless, it would seem, 
before the grim power of Germany, which has hitherto 
known no relenting and no pity. Their power, appar- 
ently, is shattered. And yet their soul is not subservient. 
They will not yield either in principle or in action. 
Their conception of what is right, of what it is humane 
and honorable for them to accept, has been stated with a 
frankness, a largeness of view, a generosity of spirit, and 
a universal human sympathy which must challenge the 
admiration of every friend of mankind; and they have 
refused to compound their ideals or desert others that 
they themselves may be safe. They call to us to say what 
it is that we desire, in what, if in anything, our purpose 
and our spirit differ from theirs; and I believe that 
the people of the United States would wish me to re- 
spond, with utter simplicity and frankness. Whether 
their present leaders believe it or not, it is our heart- 
felt desire and hope that some way may be opened 
whereby we may be privileged to assist the people of 
Bussia to attain their utmost hope of liberty and ordered 

It will be our wish and purpose that the processes of 
peace, when they are begun, shall be absolutely open and 
that they shall involve and permit henceforth no secret 
understandings of any kind. The day of conquest and 
aggrandizement is gone by; so is also the day of secret 
covenants entered into in the interest of particular gov- 
ernments and likely at some unlooked-for moment to 
upset the peace of the world. It is this happy fact, now 
clear to the view of every public man whose thoughts do 
not still linger in an age that is dead and gone, which 


makes it possible for every nation whose purposes are 
consistent with justice and the peade of the world to avow 
now or at any other time the objects it has in view. 

We entered this war because violations of right had 
occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life 
of our own people impossible unless they were corrected 
and the world secured once for all against their recur- 
rence. What we demand in this war, therefore, is noth- 
ing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made 
fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made 
safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, 
wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, 
be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peo- 
ples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. 
All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this 
interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that 
unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. 
The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our pro- 
gram; and that program, the only possible program, as 
we see it, is this : 

I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after 
which there shall be no private international understand- 
ings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always 
frankly and in the public view. 

II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, 
outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, ex- 
cept as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by 
international action for the enforcement of international 

m. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic 
barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade 


conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace 
and associating themselves for its maintenance. 

IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that na- 
tional armaments will be reduced to the lowest point 
consistent with domestic safety. 

V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial ad- 
justment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict 
observance of the principle that in determining all such 
questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations 
concerned must have equal weight with the equitable 
claims of the government whose title is to be determined. 

VI. The evacuation of all Eussian territory and such 
a settlement of all questions affecting Bussia as will 
secure the best and freest co-operation of the other 
nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered 
and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent 
determination of her own political development and 
national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into 
the society of free nations under institutions of her 
own choosing ; and, more than a welcome, assistance also 
of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. 
The treatment accorded Bussia by her sister nations in 
the months to come will be the acid test of their good 
will, of their comprehension of her needs as distin- 
guished from their own interests, and of their intelligent 
and unselfish sympathy. 

VII. Belgiiun, the whole world will agree, must be 
evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the 
sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other 
free nations. No other single act will serve as this will 
serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws 


which they have themselves set and determined for the 
government of their relations with one another. With- 
out this healing act the whole structure and validity of 
international law is forever impaired. 

VIII. All French territory should be freed and the 
invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France 
by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, 
which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly 
fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may 
once more be made secure in the interest of all. 

IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should 
be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nation- 

X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place 
among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and 
assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of 
autonomous development. 

XI. Biunania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be 
evacuated ; occupied territories restored ; Serbia accorded 
free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of 
the several Balkan states to one another determined by 
friendly counsel along historically established lines of 
allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees 
of the political and economic independence and terri- 
torial integrity of the several Balkan states should be 
entered into. 

Xn. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman 
Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the 
other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule 
should be assured an undoubted security of life and an 
absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous de- 


velopment, and the Dardanelles should be permanently 
opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of 
all nations under international guarantees. 

XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected 
which should include the territories inhabited by indis- 
putably Polish populations, which should be assured a 
free and secure access to the sea, and whose political 
and economic independence and territorial integrity 
should be guaranteed by international covenant. 

XIV. A general association of nations must be 
formed under specific covenants for the purpose of af- 
fording mutual guarantees of political independence and 
territorial integrity to great and small states alike. 

In regard to these essential rectifications of wrong 
and assertions of right we feel ourselves to be intimate 
partners of all the governments and peoples associated 
together against the Imperialists. We cannot be sepa- 
rated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand to- 
gether until the end. 

For such arrangements and covenants we are willing 
to fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved ; 
but only because we wish the right to prevail and desire 
a just and stable peace such as can be secured only by 
removing the chief provocations to war, which this pro- 
gram does remove. We have no jealousy of German 
greatness, and there is nothing in this program that 
impairs it. We grudge her no achievement or distinc- 
tion of learning or of pacific enterprise such as have 
made her record very bright and very enviable. We do 
not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legiti- 
mate influence or power. We do not wish to fight her 


either with arms or with hostile arrangements of trade 
if she is willing to associate herself with us and the 
other peace-loving nations of the world in covenants of 
justice and law and fair dealing. We wish her only to 
accept a place of equality among the peoples of the 
world, — ^the new world in which we now live, — ^instead 
of a place of mastery. 

Neither do we presume to suggest to her any altera- 
tion or modification of her institutions. But it is neces- 
sary, we must frankly say, and necessary as a pre- 
liminary to any intelligent dealings with her on our part, 
that we should know whom her spokesmen speak for 
when they speak to us, whether for the Reichstag ma- 
jority or for the military party and the men whose creed 
is imperial domination. 

We have spoken now, surely, in terms too concrete 
to admit of any further doubt or question. An evident 
principle runs through the whole program I have out- 
lined. It is the principle of justice to all peoples and 
nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of 
liberty and safety with one another, whether they be 
strong or weak. Unless this principle be made its 
foundation no part of the structure of international 
justice can stand. The people of the United States could 
act upon no other principle; and to the vindication of 
this principle they are ready to devote their lives, their 
honor, and everything that they possess. The moral 
climax of this the culminating and final war for human 
liberty has come, and they are ready to put their own 
strength, their own highest purpose, their own integrity 
and devotion to the test. 



FEBRUARY 11, 1918 

In the course of an address delivered on January 24, 1918 before the 
Reichsrat, Count Gzemin, Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs, is 
reported bj the Press to have said, explaining the negotiations then in progress 
with Russia, that while peace could not be matured within twenty-four hours, 
he was convinced that, "it is now maturing and that the question whether 
or not an honorable general peace can be secured is merely a question of 
resistance." Referring to the address of January 8, 1918, he remarked that, 
*' President Wilson's peace offer confirms me in this opinion. Naturally an 
offer of this kind cannot be regarded as a matter acceptable in every detail, 
for that obviously would render any negotiations superfluous," that he con* 
sidered, " the recent proposals of President Wilson as an appreciable approach 
to the Austro-Hungarian point of view, and that to some of them Austria- 
Hungary joyfully could give her approval," and finally, that, ''It is obvious 
to me that an exchange of views between America and Austria-Hungary might 
form the starting point for a conciliatory discussion among all the States 
which have not yet entered into peace negotiations.'* 

Gentlemen op the Congress: 

On the eighth of January I had the honor of ad- 
dressing you on the objects of the war as our people 
conceive them. The Prime Minister of Great Britain 
had spoken in similar terms on the fifth of January. 
To these addresses the German Chancellor replied on 
the twenty-fourth and Count Czernin, for Austria, on 


the same day. It is gratifying to have our desire so 
promptly realized that all exchanges of view on this 
great matter should be made in the hearing of aU the 

Count Czemin's reply, which is directed chiefly to 
my own address of the eighth of January, is uttered in a 
very friendly tone. He finds in my statement a suffi- 
ciently encouraging approach to the views of his own 
Government to justify him in believing that it furnishes 
a basis for a more detailed discussion of purposes by 
the two Governments. He is represented to have inti- 
mated that the views he was expressing had been com- 
municated to me beforehand and that I was aware of 
them at the time he was uttering them : but in this I am 
sure he was misunderstood. I had received no intima- 
tion of what he intended to say. There was, of course, 
no reason why he should communicate privately with 
me. I am quite content to be one of his public 

Count von Hertling's reply is, I must say, very 
vague and very confusing. It is full of equivocal 
phrases and leads it is not clear where. But it is cer- 
tainly in a very different tone from that of Count 
Czemin, and apparently of an opposite purpose. It 
confirms, I am sorry to say, rather than removes, the 
unfortunate impression made by what we had learned 
of the conferences at Brest-Litovsk. His discussion and 
acceptance of our general principles lead him to no 
practical conclusions. He refuses to apply them to the 
substantive items which must constitute the body of any 
final settlement. He is jealous of international action 


and of international counsel. He accepts, he says, the 
principle of public diplomacy, but he appears to insist 
that it be confined, at any rate in this case, to gen- 
eralities and that the several particular questions of 
territory and sovereignty, the several questions upon 
whose settlement must depend the acceptance of peace 
by the twenty-three states now engaged in the war, must 
be discussed and settled, not in general council, but sev- 
erally by the nations most immediately concerned by 
interest or neighborhood. He agrees that the seas 
should be free, but looks askance at any limitation to 
that freedom by international action in the interest of 
the common order. He would without reserve be glad 
to see economic barriers removed between nation and 
nation, for that could in no way impede the ambitions 
of the military party with whom he seems constrained 
to keep on terms. Neither does he raise objection to 
a limitation of armaments. That matter wiU be settled 
of itself, he thinks, by the economic conditions which 
must follow the war. But the Gterman colonies, he 
demands, must be returned without debate. He will 
discuss with no one but the representatives of Russia 
what disposition shall be made of the peoples and the 
lands of the Baltic provinces; with no one but the 
Government of France the "conditions'' under which 
French territory shall be evacuated ; and only with Aus- 
tria what shall be done with Poland. In the determina- 
tion of all questions affecting the Balkan states he 
defers, as I understand him, to Austria and Turkey; 
and with regard to the agreements to be entered into 
concerning the non-Turkish peoples of the present Otto- 


man Empire, to the Turkish authorities themselves. 
After a settlement all around, effected in this fashion, 
by individual barter and concession, he would have no 
objection, if I correctly interpret his statement, to a 
league of nations which would undertake to hold the 
new balance of power steady against external disturb- 

It must be evident to everyone who understands what 
this war has wrought in the opinion and temper of the 
world that no general peace, no peace worth the infinite 
sacrifices of these years of tragical suffering, can pos- 
sibly be arrived at in any such fashion. The method 
the German Chancellor proposes is the method of the 
Congress of Vienna. We cannot and will not return to 
that. What is at stake now is the peace of the world. 
What we are striving for is a new international order 
based upon broad and universal principles of right and 
justice, — ^no mere peace of shreds and patches. Is it 
possible that Count von Hertling does not see that, does 
not grasp it, is in fact living in his thought in a world 
dead and gone? Has he utterly forgotten the Reichs- 
tag Resolutions of the nineteenth of July, or does he 
deliberately ignore them ? They spoke of the conditions 
of a general peace, not of national aggrandizement or of 
arrangements between state and state. The peace of the 
world depends upon the just settlement of each of the 
several problems to which I adverted in my recent ad- 
dress to the Congress. I, of course, do not mean that 
the peace of the world depends upon the acceptance of 
any particular set of suggestions as to the way in which 
those problems are to be dealt with. I mean only that 


those problems each and all affect the whole world; 
that unless they are dealt with in a spirit of unselfish 
and unbiased justice, with a view to the wishes, the 
natural connections, the racial aspirations, the security, 
and the peace of mind of the peoples involved, no perma- 
nent peace will have been attained. They cannot be 
discussed separately or in corners. None of them con- 
stitutes a private or separate interest from which the 
opinion of the world may be shut out. Whatever affects 
the peace affects mankind, and nothing settled by mili- 
tary force, if settled wrong, is settled at all. It will 
presently have to be reopened. 

Is Count von Hertling not aware that he is speaking 
in the coiu*t of mankind, that all the awakened nations 
of the world now sit in judgment on what every public 
man, of whatever nation, may say on the issues of a 
conflict which has spread to every region of the world! 
The Reichstag Resolutions of July themselves frankly 
accepted the decisions of that coiu*t. There shall be no 
annexations, no contributions, no punitive damages. 
Peoples are not to be handed about from one sov- 
ereignty to another by an international conference or 
an understanding between rivals and antagonists. Na- 
tional aspirations must be respected; peoples may now 
be dominated and governed only by their own consent. 
** Self-determination'' is not a mere phrase. It is an 
imperative principle of action, which statesmen will 
henceforth ignore at their peril. We cannot have gen- 
eral peace for the asking, or by the mere arrangements 
of a peace conference. It cannot be pieced together 
out of individual understandings between powerful 


states. All the parties to this war must join in the set- 
tlement of every issue anywhere involved in it ; because 
what we are seeking is a peace that we can all imite 
to guarantee and maintain and every item of it must be 
submitted to the common judgment whether it be right 
and fair, an act of justice, rather than a bargain be- 
tween sovereigns. 

The United States has no desire to interfere in 
European affairs or to act as arbiter in European 
territorial disputes. She would disdain to take advan- 
tage of any internal weakness or disorder to impose her 
own will upon another people. She is quite ready to be 
shown that the settlements she has suggested are not 
the best or the most enduring. They are only her 
own provisional sketch of principles and of the way 
in which they should be applied. But she entered this 
war because she was made a partner, whether she would 
or not, in the sufferings and indignities inflicted by the 
military masters of Germany, against the peace and 
security of mankind; and the conditions of peace will 
touch her as nearly as they will touch any other nation 
to which is entrusted a leading part in the maintenance 
of civilization. She cannot see her way to peace until 
the causes of this war are removed, its renewal rendered 
as nearly as may be impossible. 

This war had its roots in the disregard of the rights 
of small nations and of nationalities which lacked the 
union and the force to make good their claim to deter- 
mine their own allegiances and their own forms of 
political life. Covenants must now be entered into 
which will render such things impossible for the future ; 


and those covenants must be backed by the united force 
of all the nations that love justice and are willing to 
maintain it at any cost. If territorial settlements and 
the political relations of great populations which have 
not the organized power to resist are to be determined 
by the contracts of the powerful governments which con- 
sider themselves most directly affected, as Count von 
Hertling proposes, why may not economic questions 
also ? It has come about in the altered world in which 
we now find ourselves that justice and the rights of peo- 
ples affect the whole field of international dealing as 
much as access to raw materials and fair and equal 
conditions of trade. Count von Hertling wants the 
essential bases of commercial and industrial life to be 
safeguarded by common agreement and guarantee, but 
he cannot expect that to be conceded him if the other 
matters to be determined by the articles of peace are 
not handled in the same way as items in the final ac- 
counting. He cannot ask the benefit of common agree- 
ment in the one field without according it in the other. 
I take it for granted that he sees that separate and 
selfish compacts with regard to trade and the essential 
materials of manufacture would afford no foundation 
for peace. Neither, he may rest assured, will separate 
and selfish compacts with regard to provinces and 

Count Czernin seems to see the fundamental ele- 
ments of peace with clear eyes and does not seek to 
obscure them. He sees that an independent Poland, 
made up of all the indisputably Polish peoples who lie 
contiguous to one another, is a matter of European con- 


cern and must of course be conceded ; that Belgium must 
be evacuated and restored, no matter what sacrifices 
and concessions that may involve; and that national 
aspirations must be satisfied, even within his own Em- 
pire, in the common interest of Europe and mankind. 
If he is silent about questions which touch the interest 
and purpose of his allies more nearly than they touch 
those of Austria only, it must of course be because 
he feels constrained, I suppose, to defer to Germany 
and Turkey in the circumstances. Seeing and conced- 
ing, as he does, the essential principles involved and 
the necessity of candidly applying them, he naturally 
feels that Austria can respond to the purpose of peace 
as expressed by the United States with less embarrass- 
ment than could Germany. He would probably have 
gone much farther had it not been for the embarrass- 
ments of Austria's alliances and of her dependence upon 

After all, the test of whether it is possible for either 
government to go any further in this comparison of 
views is simple and obvious. The priijiciples to be 
applied are these: 

First, that each part of the final settlement must be 
based upon the essential justice of that particular case 
and upon such adjustments as are most likely to bring a 
peace that will be permanent ; 

Second, that peoples and provinces are not to be 
bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if 
they were mere chattels and pawns in a game, even 
the great game, now forever discredited, of the balance 
of power; but that 


Third, every territorial settlement involved in this 
wax must be made in the interest and for the benefit of 
the populations concerned, and not as a part of any 
mere adjustment or compromise of claims amongst rival 
states; and 

Fourth, that all well defined national aspirations shall 
be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can be accorded 
them without introducing new or perpetuating old ele- 
ments of discord and antagonism that would be likely 
in time to break the peace of Europe and consequently 
of the world. 

A general peace erected upon such foundations can 
be discussed. Until such a peace can be secured we have 
no choice but to go on. So far as we can judge, these 
principles that we regard as fundamental are already 
everywhere accepted as imperative except among the 
spokesmen of the military and annexationist party in 
Germany. If they have anywhere else been rejected, the 
objectors have not been sufficiently nmnerous or influen- 
tial to make their voices audible. The tragical circum- 
stance is that this one party in Germany is apparently 
willing and able to send millions of men to their death to 
prevent what all the world now sees to be just. 

I would not be a true spokesman of the people of the 
United States if I did not say once more that we entered 
this war upon no small occasion, and that we can never 
turn back from a course chosen upon principle. Our 
resources are in part mobilized now, and we shall not 
pause until they are mobilized in their entirety. Our 
armies are rapidly going to the fighting front, and wiU 
go more and more rapidly. Our whole strength will be 


put into this war of emancipation, — emancipation from 
the threat and attempted mastery of selfish groups of 
autocratic rulers, — ^whatever the difficulties and present 
partial delays. We are indomitable in our power of in- 
dependent action and can in no circumstances consent 
to live in a world governed by intrigue and force. We 
believe that our own desire for new international order 
under which reason and justice and the common inter- 
ests of mankind shall prevail is the desire of enlightened 
men everywhere. Without that new order the world wiU 
be without peace and human life will lack tolerable con- 
ditions of existence and development. Having set our 
hand to the task of achieving it, we shall not turn back. 
I hope that it is not necessary for me to add that no 
word of what I have said is intended as a threat. That 
is not the temper of our people. I have spoken thus 
only that the whole world may know the true spirit of 
America, — ^that men everywhere may know that our pas- 
sion for justice and for self-government is no mere 
passion of words but a passion which, once set in action, 
must be satisfied. The power of the United States is a 
menace to no nation or people. It will never be used in 
aggression or for the aggrandizement of any selfish in- 
terest of our own. It springs out of freedom and is for 
the service of freedom. 



APRIL 6, 1918 

On February 26, 1918, the Imperial German Chancellor, Count von Hertling, 
speaking in the Reichstag, said that he could accept the four principles laid 
down in President Wilson's last address, provided they be recognized by all 
estates and peoples and that the principle of self-determination be applied to 
Ireland, Egypt and India. He further stated that Germany would not adopt 
an antagonistic attitude if a proposal be made from Belgium, as Germany had 
repeatedly announced that it did not contemplate retaining Belgium, although 
its interests in that country must and should be safeguarded. ** Meanwhile," to 
quote his exact language, *' I readily admit that President Wilson's message of 
February 11 constitutes perhaps a small step toward neutral rapprochement" 

On March 8, 1918, as indicating the sense in which President Wilson's four 
principles, with which the Chancellor said he agreed, were to be applied, Germany 
wrung from Russia a peace, by the terms of which that country ceded Batum, 
ELars and Ardahan to Turkey, renounced its sovereignty over Courland, Poland 
and Lithuania, excepting a part of the province of Grodno, consented to evacuate 
Lavonia and Esthonia and to recognize Finland and Ukraine as Independent 

President Wilson did not reply at the time to Count von Hertling's address, 
but, taking advantage of the first anniversary of the existence of war between 
the United States and the Imperial German Government, he stated anew, and 
at the end of the first year, the reasons which had caused the United States 
to declare war, the aims and purposes of that war, and the conditions upon 
which the United States could consent to discuss a peace as equitable as it is 
hoped to be permanent. 

Fellow CmzENS: 

This is the anniversary of our acceptance of Ger- 
many's challenge to fight for our right to live and be 
free, and for the sacred rights of free men everywhere. 
The Nation is awake. There is no need to call to it. 
We know what the war must cost, our utmost sacrifice, 
the lives of our fittest men and, if need be, all that we 
possess. The loan we are met to discuss is one of the 



least parts of what we are called upon to give and to do, 
though in itself imperative. The people of the whole 
country are alive to the necessity of it, and are ready to 
lend to the utmost, even where it involves a sharp 
skimping and daily sacrifice to lend out of meager earn- 
ings. They will look with reprobation and contempt 
upon those who can and will not, upon those who 
demand a higher rate of interest, upon those who think 
of it as a mere commercial transaction. I have not 
come, therefore, to urge the loan. I have come only to 
give you, if I can, a more vivid conception of what it 
is for. 

The reason for this great war, the reason why it had 
to come, the need to fight it through, and the issues that 
hang upon its outcome, are more clearly disclosed now 
than ever before. It is easy to see just what this par- 
ticular loan means because the Cause we are fighting for 
stands more sharply revealed than at any previous crisis 
of the momentous struggle. The man who knows least 
can now see plainly how the cause of Justice stands and 
what the imperishable thing is he is asked to invest in. 
Men in America may be more sure than they ever were 
before that the cause is their own, and that, if it should 
be lost, their own great Nation's place and mission in 
the world would be lost with it. 

I call you to witness, my fellow countrjmaen, that at 
no stage of this terrible business have I judged the pur- 
poses of Germany intemperately. I should be ashamed 
in the presence of affairs so grave, so fraught with the 
destinies of mankind throughout all the world, to speak 
with truculence, to use the weak language of hatred or 


vindictive purpose. We must judge as we would be 
judged. I have sought to learn the objects Germany has 
in this war from the mouths of her own spokesmen, and 
to deal as frankly with them as I wished them to deal 
with me. I have laid bare our own ideals, our own 

purposes, without reserve or doubtful phrase, and have 


asked them to say as plainly what it is that they seek. 

We have ourselves proposed no injustice, no ag- 
gression. We are ready, whenever the final reckoning 
is made, to be just to the German people, deal fairly 
with the German power, as with all others. There can 
be no difference between peoples in the final judgment, 
if it is indeed to be a righteous judgment. To pro- 
pose anything but justice, even-handed and dispas- 
sionate justice, to Germany at any time, whatever 
the outcome of the war, would be to renounce and dis- 
honor our own cause. For we ask nothing that we are 
not willing to accord. 

It has been with this thought that I have sought to 
learn from those who spoke for Germany whether it was 
justice or dominion and the execution of their own wiU 
upon the other nations of the world that the German 
leaders were seeking. They have answered, answered in 
unmistakable terms. They have avowed that it was not 
justice but dominion and the unhindered execution of 
their own will. 

The avowal has not come from Germany's statesmen. 
It has come from her military leaders, who are her real 
rulers. Her statesmen have said that they wished peace, 
and were ready to discuss its terms whenever their oppo- 
nents were willing to sit down at the conference table 


with them. Her present Chancellor has said, — ^in in- 
definite and uncertain terms, indeed, and in phrases that 
often seem to deny their own meaning, but with as much 
plainness as he thought prudent, — ^that he believed that 
peace should be based upon the principles which we had 
declared would be our own in the final settlement. At 
Brest-Litovsk her civilian delegates spoke in similar 
terms; professed their desire to conclude a fair peace 
and accord to the peoples with whose fortunes they were 
dealing the right to choose their own allegiances. But 
action accompanied and followed the profession. Their 
military masters, the men who act for Germany and 
exhibit her purpose in execution, proclaimed a very dif- 
ferent conclusion. We cannot mistake what they have 
done, — ^in Eussia, in Finland, in the Ukraine, in Rou- 
mania. The real test of their justice and fair play has 
come. From this we may judge the rest. They are 
enjoying in Russia a cheap triumph in which no brave 
or gallant nation can long take pride. A great people, 
helpless by their own act, lies for the time at their 
mercy. Their fair professions are forgotten. They no- 
where set up justice, but everywhere impose their power 
and exploit everything for their own use and aggrandize- 
ment; and the peoples of conquered provinces are in- 
vited to be free under their dominion! 

Are we not justified in believing that they would do 
the same things at their western front if they were not 
there face to face with armies whom even their countless 
divisions cannot overcome? If, when they have felt 
their check to be final, they should propose favorable and 
equitable terms with regard to Belgium and France 


and Italy, could they blame us if we concluded that they 
did so only to assure themselves of a free hand in 
Eussia and the East? 

Their purpose is undoubtedly to make all the Slavic 
peoples, all the free and ambitious nations of the Baltic 
peninsula, all the lands that Turkey has dominated and 
misruled, subject to their will and ambition and build 
upon that dominion an empire of force upon which they 
fancy that they can then erect an empire of gain and 
commercial supremacy, — ^an empire as hostile to the 
Americas as to the Europe which it will overawe, — ^an 
empire which will ultimately master Persia, India, and 
the peoples of the Far East. In such a programme our 
ideals, the ideals of justice and humanity and liberty, 
the principle of the free self-determination of nations 
upon which all the modern world insists, can play no 
part. They are rejected for the ideals of power, for the 
principle that the strong must rule the weak, that trade 
must follow the flag, whether those to whom it is taken 
welcome it or not, that the peoples of the world are to be 
made subject to the patronage and overlordship of those 
who have the power to enforce it. 

That programme once carried out, America and aU 
who care or dare to stand with her must arm and pre- 
pare themselves to contest the mastery of the World, a 
mastery in which the rights of common men, the rights 
of women and of all who are weak, must for the time 
being be trodden under foot and disregarded, and the 
old, age-long struggle for freedom and right begin again 
at its beginning. Everything that America has lived 
for and loved and grown great to vindicate and bring 


to a glorious realization will have fallen in utter ruin 
and the gates of mercy once more pitilessly shut upon 

The thing is preposterous and impossible ; and yet is 
not that what the whole course and action of the Ger- 
man armies has meant wherever they have moved? I 
do not wish, even in this moment of utter disillusion- 
ment, to judge Jiarshly or unrighteously. I judge only 
what the German arms have accomplished with unpity- 
ing thoroughness throughout every fair region they have 

What, then, are we to do? For myself, I am ready, 
ready still, ready even now, to discuss a fair and just 
and honest peace at any time that it is sincerely pur- 
posed, — ^a peace in which the strong and the weak shall 
fare alike. But the answer, when I proposed such a 
peace, came from the German commanders in Eussia, 
and I cannot mistake the meaning of the answer. 

I accept the challenge. I know that you accept it. 
All the world shall know that you accept it. It shall 
appear in the utter sacrifice and self-f orgetfulness with 
which we shall give all that we love and all that we have 
to redeem the world and make it fit for free men like 
ourselves to live in. This now is the meaning of all 
that we do. Let everything that we say, my fellow 
countrymen, everything that we henceforth plan and 
accomplish, ring true to this response till the majesty 
and might of our concerted power shall fiU the thought 
and utterly defeat the force of those who flout and mis- 
prize what we honor and hold dear. Germany has once 
more said that force, and force alone, shall decide 


whether Justice and peace shall reign in the affairs of 
men, whether Eight as America conceives it or Do- 
minion as she conceives it shall determine the destinies 
of mankind. There is, therefore, but one response pos- 
sible from us: Force, Force to the utmost. Force with- 
out stint or limit, the righteous and triumphant Force 
which shall make Bight the law of the world, and cast 
every selfish dominion down in the dust. 




, f ' 

■ »• 






(1) Mexico: The Record of a Convebsation with Pbesident 


By Samuel G. Blythe 

''My ideal is an orderly and righteous government in Me3dco; but 
my passion is for the submerged 85 per cent of the people of that Re- 
public, who are now struggling toward liberty.** 

The President closed his fingers into a sinewy fist. He leaned 
forward in his chair — Cleaned forward as a man leans forward who is 
about to start on a race, his body taut, his muscles tense. I could see 
the cords stand out on the back of his neck. His eyes were narrowed, 
his lips slightly parted, his vigor and earnestness impressive. 

Bang ! He hit the desk with that clenched fist. The paper knife 
rattled against the tray and a few open letters stirred a bit from the 
jar of the blow. 

''I challenge you," he said, ''to cite me an instance in all the his- 
tory of the world where liberty was handed down from above. Lib- 
erty always is attained by the forces working below, underneath, by 
the great movement of the people. That, leavened by the sense of 
wrong and oppression and injustice, by the ferment of human rights 
to be attained, brings freedom." The President relaxed from his 
tense attitude and smiled. 

"It is a curious thing," he continued, "that every demand for the 
establishment of order in Mexico takes into consideration, not order 
for the benefit of the people of Mexico, the great mass of the popula- 
tion, but order for the benefit of the old-time regime, for the aristo- 
crats, for the vested interests, for the men who are responsible for 
this very condition of disorder. No one asks for order because order 
will help the masses of the people to get a portion of their rights and 
their land; but all demand it so that the great owners of property, 
the overlords, the hidalgos, the men who have exploited that rich 
country for their own selfish purposes, shall be able to continue their 
processes undisturbed by the protests of the people from whom their 
wealth and power have been obtained. 

* Congressional Record, May 23, 1914. 



' ' The dangers that beset the Republic are held to be the individual 
and corporate troubles of these men, not the aggregated injustices 
that have been heaped on this vastly greater section of the popula- 
tion that is now struggling to recover by force what has always been 
theirs by right. 

'*They want order — the old order; but I say to you that the old 
order is dead. It is my part, as I see it, to aid in composing those 
differences so far as I may be able, that the new order, which will 
have its foundation on human liberty and human rights, shall prevail. ' ' 

We were sitting in the old Cabinet room, on the second floor of 
the White House, now changed to a library and workroom for the 
President. Two sides of the walls are lined with books, and oppo- 
site the mantel there hangs a great picture of the signing of the 
Spanish War peace treaty, showing President McEanley gazing be- 
nignantly at Secretary Day and the Spanish commissioner, who, 
seated side by side, are writing their names on the document that 
formally ended the war of 1898. A great globe stands in the comer — 
a great blue globe, with many lines traced on it, many lines running 
from Washington to the south. There was a cluster of red roses in 
the comer, and a little breeze fluttered the curtains of the windows 
that looked out on the fountain, the wonderful masses of bloom on 
the flowering trees, the new, soft green of the leaves, and the velvet 
of the grass. A searchlight played on the tip of the Washington 
Monument, and, far back, the Dome of the Capitol swam mistily in 
the silver light of the new moon. 

The President was in evening dress, and he seemed strong and 
vigorous as he sat facing me at the side of his desk. He was waiting 
to go to a conference between the Attorney General, the Secretary of 
War, and Senator Thomas, of Colorado, over the mining strike in the 
Senator's State. 

We talked for three-quarters of an hour. The President went 
freely and frankly into the situation — ^told his ideals, his hopes, his 
plans, his conclusions — dealing, of course, with the subject in a gen- 
eral rather than in a specific way, because of the length of time I told 
him must ensue between the talk and the publication of what I might 
write concerning it, and the knowledge that in a day-to-day event like 
this, with its constantly shifting series of happenings, summaries 
must be resorted to rather than immediate comment. 

As a result of my conversation with the President, which was on 
the evening of April 27, only a few hours after word had come that 
Huerta would accept the offer of mediation made by the representa- 
tives of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, I can state these conclusions. 


which will endure regardless of the outcome of mediation negotiations. 
The settled policy of the President in regard to Mexico will be as 
follows : 

First. The United States, so long as Mr. Wilson is President, will 
not seek to gain a foot of Mexican territory in any way or uilder any 
pretext. When we have finished with Mexico, Mexico will be terri- 
torially intact. 

Second. No personal aggrandizement by American investors or 
adventurers or capitalists, or exploitation of that country, will be 
permitted. Legitimate business interests that seek to develop rather 
than exploit will be encouraged. 

Third. A settlement of the agrarian land question by constitu- 
tional means — such as that followed in New Zealand, for example- 
will be insisted on. 

These are the materialistic ideals of President Wilson, the main 
points he has firmly in his mind. His future policy will rest on these 
foundations, regardless of what the moment may inject into the 
situation in the way of minor questions. 

We talked for a few moments on that April evening of the historic 
associations of the portion of the White House where we were, which, 
until the time of President Roosevelt, was used by the Presidents as 
office and workroom by the clerical force, by the Cabinet, and as the 
public reception room. It was in this part of the White House that 
all the preliminaries of the Spanish War were decided on by President 
McEinley, and it was this portion of the White House that President 
Lincoln occupied as his office and workroom during the Civil War. 
Now it makes up a part of the home space in the White House ; but 
in that library where we were sitting, and where McEonley's Cabinet 
debated the Spanish War and Lincoln's Cabinet debated the Civil 
War, a great many of the problems of Mexico, whether war problems 
or peace problems, have been and will be considered by President 

**Mr. President," I began, **I have recently been through the 
country somewhat, and I am constantly meeting men who have arrived 
from various States. I find and they find that, though the people of 
this country are patriotic and are loyally standing by the administra- 
tion, they do not, as a whole, know just what they are patriotic about. ' ' 

''I have found that to be true, in a measure, myself," said the 
President, ''and I am glad of an opportunity to explain my ideas 
and my ideals on the subject." 

He stopped for a moment, as though to select a place for begin- 
ning. I noticed that his face, instead of being pale, as it was the 


last time I saw him, was burned by the sun; that his eye was dear 
and bright, and his whole attitude that of a man who is strong and 
well. I noticed, too, that his hands were not burned by the sun ; and 
as he talked I watched those hands and observed how he used them 
constantly — not in widespread gestures, but rather in supplementary 
and interpretative motions, as though he were a musician speaking 
the score of his music and playing the notes with his fingers as he 
went along. I doubt whether his hands, except when he thwacked the 
desk, moved more than twelve inches one way or the other ; but they 
seemed almost a part of his speech and expressed his various atti- 
tudes of mind and emotion when he proceeded as vividly as did the 
intonation of his voice and the emphasis of his words. 

He sat back in his chair and half closed his eyes. His fingers 
laced and interlaced. Then he began to talk clearly, simply, with a 
clarity of diction, a sequence of thought, and a lucidity of expres- 
sion that seemed even more remarkable than it really was when 
compared with the muddied speech of many of our statesmen. Now 
and then he used a colloquialism. Once or twice he dropped into 
slang. He spoke of someone ''butting in," and he said, ''We must 
hump ourselves." He marshaled his facts with such precision and 
presented his ideas so cogently that it was apparent his viewpoint was 
the result of a long and continuous study of every phase of the minor 
problems involved in the great problem. Why are we in Mexico, and 
what are we going to do there? 

"Every phase of the Mexican situation," the President said, "is 
based on the condition that those in de facto control of the government 
must be relieved of that control before Mexico can realize her manifest 

The President made it clear that the United States has no quarrel 
with the Mexican people and that the Mexican people should have no 
quarrel with us. He sketched the conditions in Mexico under Diaz 
and came to the underlying cause for all the unrest in that country 
for many years. This, he said, was the fight for the land — ^just that 
and nothing more. 

He pointed out how the landed aristocracy, originally given con- 
trol of vast tracts of land by Spanish grants, had during succeeding 
years, by coercion, absorption, and by other methods of force, and 
with the support of the Qovemment, taken away from the small land- 
owners most of their properties and had created the feudal estates^ 
where the people were virtually slaves. 

These processes were followed by the passage of a general law 
which made legal the condemnation of all land to the State that was 


not secured by a title which complied with provisions in the law 
that made most of the titles, of the properties the landed aristocracy 
wanted, easy of annulment. Farm after farm passed into the control 
of the big landowners, and there was no recourse for the former 
owners or for their families but to work at dictated terms and prac- 
tically as slaves on the land that had formerly been theirs. 

** Fortunately for the peons, but unfortunately for himself," the 
President continued, ''Diaz permitted the establishment of a public 
school system. He himself said he raised up the instrument that 
brought about his own destruction — the school system." 

Weak and incomplete as this school system was and is, it never- 
theless had the effect of helping in great measure toward the partial 
education of a su£Scient number of the peons to make it easy for agi- 
tators to start revolutions. Revolutions were started. Finally there 
came the successful revolution of Madero and his supporters and 
the exile of Diaz. This was followed by the killing of Madero and 
the assumption of power by Huerta. The present revolution, like all 
preceding revolutions, is primarily a revolution by the peons who 
want to regain their land. 

''To some extent," the President said, "the situation in Mexico 
is similar to that in France at the time of the revolution. There are 
wide differences in many ways," he continued, "but the basic situa- 
tion has many resemblances." 

After the accession of Huerta the President definitely decided not 
to recognize that alleged government and remained firm in that re- 
solve. However, for many months he has not been unaware that a 
situation was developing which would force him to make an active 
movement against Mexico, or the alleged Huerta government of 
Mexico, and would bring about such a condition as existed at the 
time mediation was suggested. 

"It has been a difScult situation," he said, "because so many 
elements of it have been without our control and our territory. In a 
domestic matter we can see our way clear, because ordinarily all the 
elements are within our view and consideration ; but here was a trouble 
that had its active movements in another and an adjacent and a some- 
what remote country, and we were forced to sit and watch and await 
such developments as might be. I have known for months that some 
such thing could happen — ^was inevitable, in fact — ^and my prayer 
was that it might not be a calamity." 

Then came the incident at Tampico. Bear Admiral Mayo, resent- 
ing the insult to the flag, issued his demand for an apology, and the 
President and his Cabinet stepped in behind the admiral. 


''Really/' said the President, ''it was a psychological moment 

, if that phrase is not too trite to be used. There was no great disaster 

like the sinking of the Maine, and there was an adequate reason for 

our action in this culminating insult of a series of insults to our 

country and our flag. ' ' 

The President followed with his emphatic declaration that his pas- 
sion is for the great masses of the Mexican people, and his statement 
that his sole object in Mexico is to help the people secure the liberty 
which he holds is fully theirs by right. 

"The function of being a policeman in Mexico has not appealed 
to me, nor does it appeal to our people," he said. "Our duty is 
higher than that. If we are to go in there, restore order, and immedi- 
ately get out, and invite a repetition of conflict similar to that which 
is in progress now, we had better have remained out. 

"What we must do and what we hope to do are twofold: First, 
we hope to show the world that our friendship for Mexico is a dis- 
interested friendship, so far as our own aggrandizement goes; and, 
second, we hope to prove to the world that the Monroe Doctrine is not 
what the rest of the world, including some of the countries in this 
hemisphere, contends — ^merely an excuse for the gaining of territory 
for ourselves. 

' ' I hold this to be a wonderful opportunity to prove to the world 
that the United States of America is not only human but humane ; that 
we are actuated by no other motives than the betterment of the con- 
ditions of our unfortunate neighbor, and by the sincere desire td ad- 
vance the cause of human liberty." 

The situation, he pointed out, is intolerable, and requires the 
strong guiding hand of the great Nation on this continent that, by 
every appeal of right and justice, and the love for order, and the hope 
for peace and prosperity, must assist these warring people back into 
the paths of quiet and prosperity. We have an object lesson to give 
to the rest of the world: an object lesson that will prove to the 
skeptical outsiders that this Nation rises superior to considerations of 
added power and scorns an opportunity for territorial aggrandize- 
ment; an object lesson that will show to the people of this, our own, 
hemisphere that we are sincerely and unselfishly the friends of all of 
them, and particularly the friends of the Mexican people, with no 
other idea than the idea and the ideal of helping them compose their 
differences, starting them on the road to continued peace and renewed 
prosperity, and leaving them to work out their own destiny, but 
watching them narrowly and insisting that they shall take help when 
help is needed. 


^*I have not permitted myself to think of what vdll be the out- 
come of these plans for mediation/' the President said. '^I hope 
they may be successful. In any event, we shall deem it our duty to 
help the Mexican people, and we shall continue until we have satis- 
factory knowledge that peace has been restored, that a constitutional 
government is reorganized, and that the way is open for the peaceful 
reorganization of that harassed country. 

**We shall not demand a foot of territory nor a cent of money — 
except, of course, the settlement of such claims as may justly be made 
by American citizens for damages to their property during these dis- 
turbances — ^individual claims. There will be no money demand in a 
national sense. Then we shall have shown the entire world that the 
Monroe Doctrine means an unselfish friendship for our neighbors — a 
disinterested friendship, in the sense of not being interested in our 
aggrandizement — and that our motives are only the motives inspired 
by the higher humanity, by our sense of duty and responsibility, and 
by our determination that human liberty shall prevail in our hemi- 
sphere. ' ' 

The President paused. He had been intensely in earnest in his 
talk. He smiled, and his long white fingers wove themselves in and 
out. Then, with a little gesture that betokened amused contempt, he 
continued : 

* * They say the Mexicans are not fitted for self-government ; and to 
this I reply that, when properly directed, there is no people not fitted 
for self-government. The very fact that the extension of the school 
system by Diaz brought about a certain degree of understanding 
among some of the people, which caused them to awaken to their 
wrongs and to strive intelligently for their rights, makes that con- 
tention absurd. I do not hold that the Mexican peons are at present as 
capable of self-government as other people— ours, for example — ^but I 
do hold that the widespread sentiment that they never will be and 
never can be made to be capable of self-government is as wickedly false 
as it is palpably absurd." 

He paused again. 

''Did you see that dispatch we gave out, from Consul Gkneral 
Hanna, which detailed his experiences with the army at Torreont 
It was a sort of diary of his adventures and a record of what he saw. 
We gave it all out ; but the latter part of it was not widely printed, 
for the first part of it was full of bloody details of the battle. I sup- 
pose" — and he smiled whimsically again — ''I suppose the editors felt 
there was no particular interest in the peaceful and gratifying in- 
formation that was in the latter portion of the dispatch. 


' * Well, if you read that dispatch, you learned that Mr. Hanna was 
most agreeably surprised and greatly gratified by the treatment Villa 's 
men gave their prisoners ; how they endeavored to live up to the rules 
of civilized warfare ; how they were constantly on the lookout for new 
information that would relieve them of the stigma of being bar- 
barians. This merely shows that these people, if they get the chance, 
are capable of learning and are anxious to learn." 

The President returned to the question of mediation and what it 
might bring forth, but has not information beyond the general knowl- 
edge that Huerta had accepted the friendly offices of the self -proposed 
mediators. I asked him whether, in the event of successful mediation, 
his plans for the betterment of Mexico would be carried out. 

' * I hope so, " he replied, * * for it is not my intention, having begun 
this enterprise, to turn back — unless I am forced to do so— until I 
have assurances that the great and crying wrongs the people have 
endured are in process of satisfactory adjustment. Of course, it 
would not do for us to insist on an exact procedure for the partition 
of the land, for example, for that would set us up in the position of 
dictators, which we are not and never shall be ; but it is not our inten- 
tion to cease in our friendly ofSces until we are assured that all these 
matters are on their way to successful settlement. It is a great and a 
complicated question, but I have every hope that a suitable solution 
will be found, and that the day will come when the Mexican people 
will be put in full possession of the land, the liberty^ and the peaceful 
prosperity that are rightfully theirs." 

President Wilson banged the desk again. His smile vanished and 
his face became stem and set. 

* * And eventually, ' ' he said slowly, * * I shall fight every one of these 
men who are now seeking and who will then be seeking to exploit 
Mexico for their own selfish ends. I shall do what I can to keep 
Mexico from their plundering. There shall be no individual exploita- 
tion of Mexico if I can stop it." 

He walked over to the big blue globe. 

''It is a wonderful country," he said as he put his fiinger on 
Mexico, **a wonderful country. There is every advantage there for 
the peaceful and prosperous pursuit of happiness. Have you ever 
noticed that if you draw a line straight south from New York it will 
touch the western coast of South America instead of the eastern, and 
that it runs along by Chile and Peru, and the other countries on the 
western side of the southern continent? 

**Thus, with the Panama Canal running practically north and 
douth, this brings these countries which have be^i so remote into close 


touch with us, and the commerce of this Western Hemisphere will 
brood over Central America. 

* * What we desire to do, and what we shall do, is to show our neigh- 
bors to the south of us that their interests are identical with our inter- 
ests; that we have no plans or any thoughts of our own exaltation, but 
have in view only the peace and the prosperity of the people in our 
hemisphere. ' ' 

The little clock on the bookcase struck nine. The President rose. 
He walked down the stairs with me, and took his hat to go across to 
his ofSce, where there was to be a conference on the vexing situation 
in Colorado. As we parted at the end of the corridor he held out his 
hand and said: 

'*lt will be a great thing not only to have helped humanity by 
restoring order, but to have gone further than that by laying the 
secure foundations for that liberty without which there can be no 
happiness. ' * 


(2) The President's Mexican Pouct — ^Presented in an Auth(»ized 
Interview bt Secretary of the Interior Franklin E. Lane, 

July 16, 1916 

"President Wilson's Mexican policy is one of the things of which, 
as a member of his administration, I am most proud. It shows so 
well his abounding faith in humanity, his profound philosophy of 
democracy, and his unshakable belief in the ultimate triumph of lib- 
erty, justice, and right. He has never sought the easy solution of any 
of the difficult questions that have arisen in the last three years. He 
has always sought the right solution. 

"Mr. Wilson's Mexican policy has not been weak and vacillating. 
It has been definite and consistent, firm and constructive. How firm 
is already known to those who have sought to force American inter- 
vention in Mexico; how constructive will best be appreciated fifty 
years from now by the whole world. It was to Mexico perhaps more 
than to anything that the President referred the other day when he 
said that he was playing for the verdict of mankind. 

"The policy of the United States toward Mexico is a policy of 
hope and of helpfulness; it is a policy of Mexico for the Mexicans. 
That, after all, is the traditional policy of this country — it is the 
policy that drove Maximilian out of Mexico. ' ' 

Secretary of the Interior Lane made this statement to me at his 
summer camp on the shores of Lake Champlain, and then he launched 
out into a forceful declaration of the principles underlying President 
Wilson's Mexican policy and proceeded to give the reasons for his 
conviction that the President was right when he refused to recognize 
Huerta, and declared that the murderer of Madero must go, right 
when he occupied the port of Vera Cruz, right when he accepted the 
offer of mediation extended by the ABC, right when he abided by 
the agreement reached at Niagara Falls, right when he withdrew 
from Vera Cruz, right when he recognized Carranza as head of the 
de facto Government, and right when he sent the United States 
Army into Mexico after the bandit raid on Columbus. Mr. Lane 

"The doctrine of force is always fighting with the doctrine of 
sympathy, and the trouble with the two schools of warism and pacifism 
is that neither one will recognize that both philosophies have a part 
to play in the life of every individual and of every nation and in 


the production and advancement of that strange thing we call civiliza- 

''Now, the doctrine of force has been worked to its limit in Mexico. 
President Wilson believes that the doctrine of sympathy should have 
its chance in that country and this is the foundation of his Mexican 
policy. Not that Mexico wants our sympathy. It does not — and that 
is one of the great difficulties we have to contend with. Another is 
that it takes a long while to make, a Mexican believe that we intend his 
country good and not evil. The people of Mexico have inherited the 
pride of Aragon, and the thing above all others that they do not 
want and will not stand for is that kind of sympathy which is nothing 
but pity. 

''The sympathy that Mexico needs is the sympathy, of under- 
standing. The United States should be what the Latin Americans 
call 'muy simp&tico.' We have no exact English equivalent for that 
expression, but if there is one thing it does not mean it is sympathy 
as we Americans use the word. Uncle Sam will be 'muy simp&tico' 
to the Mexican people only when he has a conscientious regard for 
and realization of the feelings and the desires of the Mexican and 
understands his best side, his aspiring nature. 

' ' Mexico is a bad neighbor now. There is no use in denying this. 
We live at peace with Canada on our northern border, without a 
soldier along 3,000 miles of land, while, as a matter of necessity, we 
are obliged to keep an armed force on our Mexican border all of the 
time, and have now gathered there the largest army assembled in the 
United States since the Civil War. The superficial reason for this 
is that Mexico cannot settle her own troubles at home and that the 
de facto government has been unable to prevent bandits from harass- 
ing us. 

"Our neighbor's sewage is running over into our lot, and we must 
find some way to stop it even if we have to go over the boundary line 
and stop the pipes ourselves. This is the easiest thing in the world 
to say, but to respect the letter of the law and at the same time abate 
a nuisance that is not on your own property is one of the most diffi- 
cult things in the world. 

' ' Mexico will always be a nuisance to us until a few fundamental 
reforms are put into effect there. If it is to be lasting, however, 
someone inside of Mexico must do it. It cannot be done by us unless 
we are prepared not only to conquer Mexico but to annex Mexico. 
We should not only have to make war on Mexico and impose peace 
by force, but after giving it a preliminary cleaning up we should 
have to establish and maintain indefinitely a government there.'' 


I asked Secretary Lane to go over the history of the past six years 
in Mexico with me and to tell the World the reasons which had gov- 
erned the policy and actions of the United States Oovemment as each 
emergency arose. In complying with this request Mr. Lane said : 

**Diaz was a great man, a very great man. I doubt if, with the 
possible exception of Bismarck, there was a greater man alive in his 
day. After the Czar of Russia he was the most absolute despot of 
modem times. He built a monument to himself, which I beUeve is 
still standing, to celebrate thirty years of peace in Mexico, and all 
the nations of the earth sent representatives to its unveiling. Within 
two years he was an exile because that monument represented order 
alone and the aspirations of only a very small portion of his people. 

''The peace that he had maintained was an imposed peace not 
coming from the people themselves. Diaz ruled by fear. He had 
gone into office with promises upon his lips, and I am willing to be- 
lieve that he meant to keep them. But once in power he was appalled 
by the span of years necessary for the slow process of constructive 
civilization, and he determined that to gain time Mexico was to be 
saved by two things, force and wealth. 

''And so, while observing to some extent the letter of the con- 
stitution he cynically avoided its spirit. He always placed property 
rights before human rights. Although he sought to improve, and did 
improve, Mexico's material condition it was without even so much as 
a thought of her moral progress. He kept the masses of the people in 
subjection by keeping them in ignorance. When he died eighty-three 
per cent of the people could neither read nor write, and as far as her 
political development went, Mexico was no further forward and no 
more fitted for self-government than in 1821, when, having wrested 
her independence from Spain, she was first recognized as a sovereign 
nation by the United States. 

"During Diaz's time I had a very interesting talk with a great 
lawyer in Mexico City who was an officeholder in the Diaz regime. 
I asked him the current question: 'After Diaz, whatt' To my sur- 
prise the man said: 'I am a Constitutionalist. Either before Diaz 
dies or immediately upon his death a revolution will break out in 
Mexico having for its purpose three things — ^the restoration of the 
land to the people, the establishment of public schools throughout 
the country, and a judicial system in which the courts will decide 
according to law and not according to executive desires.' 

"The Madero revolution followed exactly on these lines, but 
Madero was a dreamer, an idealist, a man who took his constitution 
seriously and who failed for two reasons, or rather because of two 


weaknesses of his own character. He was not strong enough to sup- 
press the rapacious rascals who surrounded him, and he was not 
practical enough to deliver the goods that he had promised. Men in 
Madero's own government saw in his revolution only another oppor- 
tunity for getting rich quick, and they ruined him while he was still 

^'Huerta was his commander-in-chief, a soldier trained by Diaz 
and dominated by Diaz's friends. He, too, believed in saving Mexico 
by force and wealth ; he was in complete sympathy with the philosophy 
expressed in the Diaz administration. There is no truth in the oft- 
repeated allegation that all the trouble with Mexico would have been 
avoided if President Wilson had recognized Huerta. I ask anyone 
who wishes to be fair to this administration to look back three years 
and read the newspapers of that day and the debates in Congress in 
which the murder of Madero and Suarez was denounced. 

''Had we recognized Huerta or had we not taken a positive stand 
against him, the criticism this administration has received for the 
policy we have pursued would ■•be as nothing to what would now 
overwhelm us. Who were the American statesmen who demanded 
Huerta 's recognition! What one of our leaders of either party set 
forth the principles upon which a better feeling between this country 
and all of our sister Republics of the South could be stimulated by 
taking a position that was abhorrent to our American conscience t 

'*We know what we have suffered in the past three years, and it 
is too easy now to say that all this would have been avoided if 
Huerta had been recognized, but the only demand made at that time 
by the more solid of our men of affairs who were antagonistic to the 
administration 's policy was that we should intervene ; that we should 
bring order to Mexico by force. 

'*No one then believed and no one really believes now that the 
recognition of Huerta would have solved the Mexican problem. We 
do know, however, one thing that we were not conscious of then, that 
Huerta himself had so slight a hold upon Mexico that he did not dare 
to leave the capital and that he was to all intents and purposes a 
prisoner of the reactionaries, able only to reach the sea at its nearest 

''Although it is self-evident that this country, as the champion of 
constitutional government in America, can never recognize a military 
despotism based upon assassination, it is not necessary to call Huerta 
an assassin in order to justify our refusal to recognize him. His 
attempted dictatorship was but a fiction of government. With the 
elected President and Vice-President murdered and the minister of 


state, who was their lawful successor, cowed into submission, Huerta 
took the reins of power at the best as a temporary stop-gap. 

''The revolution against Huerta broke out immediately upon the 
news of Madero's death. The correspondence between Huerta and 
Carranza recently published shows that every practical inducement 
was held out to Carranza to put an end to his revolutionary move- 
ment. To Carranza 's credit, be it said, he refused to come to terms 
with those who he believed had been the cause of the President's 
death and who had set to one side the laws of his country. 

' ' It is not to be forgotten that Huerta did not pretend even to be a 
constitutional ruler. He sent word to the United States that he had 
taken the Qovernment of Mexico into his own hands and that he was 
all the law that was to be found in Mexico. His statement was so 
bold that even the Supreme Court of Mexico uttered a feeble protest, 
which was somewhat more loudly echoed in the Mexican Senate. 

' ' In the face of this Huerta asked for recognition from the United 
States, but President Taf t felt that he could not conscientiously grant 
it, and he left the problem to be dealt with by his successor, who had 
already been elected. That was the situation when President Wilson 
took office. Could President Wilson have recognized Huerta t Surely 
there can be but one answer to that question — No! 

**To have recognized Huerta would have been a twofold injustice: 
First, to the people of Mexico, and, secondly, to all the people of 
South and Central America. To give to the commander-in-chief of an 
army recognition as President under such circumstances would have 
been to announce to all ambitious military officers that they had but 
to ally themselves with a successful junta, seize the Qovernment by 
force, murder the lawful incumbents, and announce the overthrow of 
all law and a supreme military dictatorship in order to gain the 
recognition of the United States, we being thoroughly aware of all 
that had happened. 

'' Americans are justified in the pride that through the operation 
of the Monroe Doctrine there is gradually growing up in the New 
World a civilization that will make old-time revolutionary methods 
impossible, that will carry forward all of the twenty-one Bepublics 
to the unification of our international interests in the true spirit of 
Pan Americanism. We have so amplified the Monroe Doctrine that we 
are virtually the copartners of the Bepublics to the south of us, and to 
proclaim that the violation of their constitutional laws would not in 
the slightest interfere with our recognition of a conspiracy to murder 
lawful executives and overthrow their established republican forms 
of government would have been rightly considered by the American 


people as the most cowardly and short-sighted policy imaginable. 
Condemnation would have arisen not only from the people of the 
United States but from all the nations of the Pan American Union. 

'^During Huerta's regime we learned much of the ability of the 
Mexican as a casuist. The notes that came from Mexico were models 
of the seventeenth-century style of diplomatic state paper. President 
Wilson attempted, it will be remembered, to find a basis upon which 
there could be set up in Mexico a government that we could recog- 
nize. There was nothing peremptory about our attitude in the be- 
ginning of the diplomatic exchanges. 

''Our whole effort was to the obtaining of a republican form of 
government in Mexico which would have the people back of it, and 
guarantees against the establishment of an absolutism on our southern 
border under which the people of Mexico would so chafe that we 
should have a constant state of revolution there. 

''Many of the best Mexicans were in sympathy with the attitude 
that the United States took toward Huerta. They knew that stability 
of government was not to be hoped for under a man of his tempera^ 
ment and disposition. After it became evident, by continued nego- 
tiation which ended nowhere, that Huerta was standing, so to speak, 
in the City of Mexico heaping insolence on the United States, Presi- 
dent Wilson gave notice that Huerta must go. 

"Then followed the Tampico incident. Our sailors landed at 
Tampico and were arrested, marched through the streets in ignominy, 
and eventually returned to their boat. The admiral in charge was so 
incensed at their treatment that he immediately made upon Huerta a 
demand that a national salute should be fired in atonement for the 
insult to the flag. Again the Mexican Qovemment attempted to con- 
tinue its policy of diplomatic quibbling. 

"Meanwhile the revolution had gained such headway in the north 
that it was difScult from day to day to say which force had or occu- 
pied the greatest portion of Mexican territory. Huerta was keeping 
up his resistance because he was being supplied with ammunition from 
abroad. A ship was reported ready to land at Vera Cruz with a 
cargo of arms, and as a warning to Huerta and in proof of the seri- 
ousness of our purpose to bring Huerta to a recognition of our atti- 
tude, the order was given to seize the custom house and occupy the 
port of Vera Cruz. 

"We did not go to Vera Cruz to force Huerta to salute the flag. 
We did go there to show Mexico that we were in earnest in our demand 
that Huerta must go, and he went before our forces were withdrawn. 
The occupation of Vera Cruz was carried out without diflftculty, with 


the loss of nineteen of our brave sailors and marines, and if aggres- 
sion and intervention had been our aim we could have easily seized the 
railroad to Mexico City and occupied the capital. 

''The menacing attitude of the Mexican troops surrounding our 
force of occupation at Vera Cruz made hostilities appear imminent, 
and again the strongest kind of pressure was brought to bear upon 
the President to intervene, that we should go into Mexico and take 
matters into our own hands. This is the one thing that the President 
has set his face against from the first. It is the thing to which this 
administration is opposed so long as any other hope holds out." 

' * But, Mr. Secretary, ' ' I asked, ' * could not the United States have 
done in Mexico what it did in Cubat" 

*'No," said Mr. Lane, ''we could not. That is a very common 
delusion, but the Mexican situation is not at all that which we met 
in Cuba. We went in there at the request of the revolutionists and 
after the Maine had been sunk in Havana harbor, and such authority 
as there was in Cuba had thus evidenced its hostility. We could 
go in and did go in there with some heart, fighting alongside of the 
revolutionists against a monarchy, but we could not go in with any 
heart to fight against the Mexicans who are struggling to find a way to 
popular government. But to return to the facts : 

"We had sought to bring to our sympathetic support all of the 
South American countries. They also were anxious for a settlement 
of this trouble upon some basis that would safeguard the interests of 
Mexico and conserve that unity which is the soul of the great Pan 
American movement. Some of them thought that they saw a greedy 
hand from the north reaching down with no benevolent purpose, and 
if it laid hold of Mexico none of them knew but that it might be their 
turn next. 

"This fear of the big brother is a very real one in Latin America. 
They do not know us intimately ; they are suspicious of our motives. 
They think of the Mexican War of 1846 as an unjustifiable aggression 
on our part; they think of the Panama incident as a robbery; they 
misconstrue our purpose in Santo Domingo, and in Nicaragua, and 
they do not trust us. They fear that the spirit of imperialism is upon 
the American people and that the Monroe Doctrine may be construed 
some day as a doctrine that will give the whole Western Hemisphere 
to the United States ; that it is a doctrine of selfishness and not a doc- 
trine of altruism. 

' * Those who are familiar with the feeling of the South and Central 
American countries toward the United States know that just at that 
time, when our forces occupied Vera Cruz, a very intense fear had 


seized upon Latin America. They believed in their hearts that we 
were on our march southward and that the President's Mobile speech 
and other generous utterances of the same sort were to be taken in a 
Pickwickian sense. 

''When they presented a plan of mediation, the United States 
had no choice but to accept it. Indeed, if we had refused to accept it, 
Latin America would have been justified in doubting our good faith. 
No one that I am aware of, either Republican or Democrat, has ever 
criticized the President for accepting the mediation of Argentina, 
Brazil, and Chile, and abiding strictly by the agreement reached at 
Niagara Falls. 

'*By the protocols there signed on June 23, 1914, the United 
States agreed that the selection of a provisional and constitutional 
President be left wholly to the Mexicans, and we guaranteed our 
recognition of them when chosen. This made clear our desire not to 
interfere in any way in the settlement of Mexico's domestic troubles, 
and as a further proof of our disinterested friendship for the Mexican 
people the United States agreed not to claim any war indemnity or 
other international satisfaction from Mexico. We had gone to Vera 
Cruz *to serve mankind.' Our only quarrel was with Huerta, and 
Huerta got out on July 16, 1914. Our forces were withdrawn from 
Vera Cruz on November 23 following. 

'* Three days after Huerta left Mexico Villa began levying taxes 
on his own authority, and it was plain that the successful revolution- 
ists would soon be fighting between themselves. Both Carranza and 
Villa agreed to a conference at Aguascalientes, and it was stipulated 
that no soldiers were to be there ; but Villa turned up with an armed 
force that terrorized the convention and prevented it from recog- 
nizing Carranza, and in a short while open warfare began between the 
two factions. 

''Villa and Carranza had broken, and there was a double sov- 
ereignty claimed even on our border in northern Mexico. Things 
were going from bad to worse, and it was suggested in the Cabinet 
that there should be some determination by the United States as to 
which of the rival claimants to power in Mexico as leader of a suc- 
cessful revolution should be recognized as a de facto government. 

' ' Secretary of State Lansing thereupon caUed a conference of the 
representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, and 
Guatemala and asked them, from their knowledge of the situation — ^f or 
a considerable portion of the information in the hands of the United 
States came through the representatives of these countries in Mexico — 
to co-operate with him in the determination of the claimant to be 


recognized. Theae six Latin-American Catholic countries unani* 
mously recommended the recognition of Carranza, and in furtherance 
of our Pan American policy this recognition was at once given by the 
United States and Latin America. 

''Since Carranza 's recognition we have seen Americans who have 
gone into Mexico on peaceful errands murdered; we have seen our 
own towns upon the border raided and Americans slain on American 
soil. These outrages prompted President Wilson to send our troops 
into Mexico, and this course cannot be otherwise construed than as a 
recognition of the fact that the de facto Government of Mexico, 
recognized by ourselves and by other nations, is not fulfilling the duty 
which one Qovernment owes to another. 

''We are in Mexico to-day, and how long we shall stay and how 
far we shall go depends upon the policy and the power to keep the 
peace of the Carranza Qovernment, but we shall go no further than 
we have gone until every effort to secure effective Mexican co-opera- 
tion fails." 

Then Mr. Lane proceeded to an examination of the principles 
governing the policy of the United States toward Mexico and of the 
needs of the Mexican people. He said : 

"There are things that a democracy must always be willing to 
fight for. But what thing is there that any American can say we 
ought to be willing to fight for in Mexico t Is it because railroads 
built with American capital have been damaged, that mines have 
been shut down, or even that American citizens have been killed by 
outlaws and bandits t 

"All those things we can and do very much regret, but who will 
say they are great principles for which a democracy should be willing 
to sacrifice the blood of its sons t Who can formulate out of the whole 
history of the past six years any other determination than this : That 
we should resist the temptation to fight where pride and interest 
move us in that direction, and that we should and will fight when 
we are attacked and when we find no other means by which our inter- 
ests can be safeguarded and Mexico be given any hope of itself! 

"We have been on the edge of war with Mexico several times in 
the last three years, but each time, before the determination was made 
that we should discard our hopes, there has opened some way by ^ich 
reasonable men might expect that Mexico could prove herself able 
to take care of her own problems. The one man who can justifiably 
criticize President Wilson for his Mexican policy is the man who hon- 
estly believes that Mexico cannot be brought to stability of government 
and responsibility except through the exercise of outside force. That 


man is consistent, and the only criticism I have to make of him is a 
criticism of his judgment. 

''There is no question that we could easily overrun Mexico. I 
believe we could do it with a comparatively few men, although we 
would have a united Mexico against us. There would be no glory in 
such a war, and there is not one man in ten thousand in this country 
who really wants such a war. It would be repugnant to every Ameri- 
can tradition and would discourage the friendship of every other 
American nation. Of course we could conquer Mexico, and after a 
good deal of guerrilla warfare we could bring Mexico to a state of 

''Then we could hold her while we administered to her the medi- 
cine that we believe she needs. We could have what we call a general 
cleaning up, the rebuilding of her railroads, of her wagon roads, the 
construction of sewers for her cities, the enforcement of health regu- 
lations, and all the other things that go to make up the outward and 
visible signs of order and good government. 

"But don't you see that the peace we would bring would be a 
peace imposed by force, the government we would give to Mexico 
would be the kind of government that we have and which makes life 
tolerable to us in our communities? Its standards would not be Mexi- 
can standards, its ideals would not be Mexican ideals, its genius 
would not be Mexican genius. The moment we withdrew from 
Mexico there would be a return after a very short time to Mexican 

"What Mexico really needs and must be allowed to do is to raise 
her own standards; it is to give herself a cleaning up by herself. 
That is bound to take time, but in no other way can Mexico get a 
government that will be expressive of her own ideals, that will be 
expressive of some aspiration of her own as to what her civilization 
should be, and in this we want to be of help to Mexico if she will 
allow us to do so. 

' ' The Mexican problem, as a problem, depends upon your attitude 
toward other peoples. Mexico is a land to conquer, and the Mexican 
people are a people to be conquered and subordinated and the country 
and its resources made ours, if you look upon a smaller and less 
highly civilized country as a proper object of exploitation. On the 
other hand, Mexico is a country out of which something greater can 
be made, and the Mexican people are a people who have possibilities 
and can be helped to become a self-governing nation, and if you take 
that attitude toward Mexico you are bound to sympathize with their 
struggle upward. 


**In other words, where we find that conditions justify revolu- 
tion, if we think it our business to go in and work the revolution to 
our profit, we must condemn the President 's policy ; but if, where we 
find conditions justify revolution, we want to give that revolution a 
chance to work out from the inside, we must hold up his hands." 

''What are the things that Mexico needs, Mr. Secretary t" I asked. 
''What is necessary for a return to peace and order!" Mr. Lane 

' ' The things that Mexico needs are few, but they are fundamental. 
A land-tax system which will make it impossible to hold great bodies 
of idle land for selfish reasons and which will make it unnecessary 
for the Qovemment to sell concessions in order to support itself. 
A school system by which popular education may be given to all the 
people as it is given in the United States. If Diaz had done this, 
as he promised, he would have created an active public opinion in 
Mexico which would have made present conditions impossible. 

"Along with the primary schools should go agricultural schools in 
which modem methods of agriculture should be taught. The army 
might well be used as a sanitation corps, so as to insure against the 
recurrence of those plagues which so affect trade relations with Mexico 
and the health of her people. With these things, Mexico would be well 
started on her way toward that better era which her more intelligent 
revolutionists thought she had reached in the early days of the Diaz 
administration, some forty years ago. 

"Everyone in Mexico is united upon the proposition that the 
present land system is based upon privilege and is unjust. I have 
talked with twenty of the wealthiest and most intelligent men who 
belonged to the Diaz regime. All have admitted the fact. Some have 
even volunteered the statement that Mexico is in a feudal state, and 
that the land belongs to great proprietors, who work the peons and 
keep them in a semi-slave condition. If the facts were better realized, 
the people of the United States would not stand for the labor condi- 
tions that exist in Mexico, and for the peonage, which is only a form 
of slavery. I have some personal knowledge of these conditions. 

' ' One morning ten years ago I was on a coffee finca — a great estate 
high up in the Sierra Madre — and I asked a peasant who labored from 
sunrise to sunset what he was getting for his day's work. His answer 
was 60 cents in Guatemalan money, which was equal to 10 cents gold. 
Here was a strong, able-bodied agricultural laborer earning $3 a 
month. I asked him why he did not go down to the railroad, where 
the American contractors would pay him 50 cents or more a day. 
His answer was, 'I would not be from here one mile before Don 


Porfirio would have reached out his hand and drawn me back to jail. ' 
I said, 'Why could he arrest you!' and the answer given me, falter- 
ingly and in fear, was, 'Because I owe the store.' 

'^He had lived and worked on that finca for twelve years; alive or 
dead, he is there to-day, unless he has run away to join an army in 
the revolution. I asked that Mexican peon where he had come from, 
and he pointed across the mountains to a valley where his people had 
lived for a thousand years. *Why did you leave there! ' I inquired. 
His answer was that Don Porfirio had given the land where he was 
bom to a Chinaman. 

' ' From an investigation I made myself I found out that this was 
literally true; that the land, which was the hereditary possession of 
these Indians, had been taken from them by the Qovemment and 
given to a greater 'company' on terms which one can only guess; that 
the 'company' had sold the land to a syndicate, in which there were 
no Americans, upon condition that it should be populated under a 
law somewhat similar to our homestead law, with the reservation that 
it was neither to go to Mexican natives nor to citizens of the United 
States, and the immigrants with which the syndicate was populating 
that part of Mexico were Chinamen. 

"I crossed a bridge on the Camino Real. 'The last time I crossed 
that bridge,' said the peon who was with me, 'the governor of the 
State was lying there dead. He had become ambitious and presented 
to the people a program of reform. Doubtless he hoped to be another 
Juarez, and Don Porfirio had ended his ambitions.' The peon of 
Mexico— and out of possibly 15,000,000 inhabitants at least 12,000,000 
are peons — is a kindly and gentle creature under normal conditions, 
disregardful of his own life but not anxious to make war on anyone. 
The peon has it forced upon his mind that he belongs to a definite 
sphere of life, and so he is without ambition and without foresight; 
but he is not without intelligence, and he makes an excellent workman 
when taught. All he needs is a chance to live and a chance to learn, 
land to cultivate, and schools to go to. Is it conceivable that to add to 
the miseries of these struggling people any American citizen would 
want to make war on themt 

"We of the United States have the impulse that all virile people 
have. We feel conscious of our ability to do a job in nation making 
much better than anyone else. Read over Kipling's poem, 'The 
White Man's Burden.' It was not so much the white man's duty to 
clean up insanitary conditions on the outskirts of civilization and to 
develop the backward peoples of the earth that he was expressing 
as it was our perfect, self-complacent appreciation of our supreme 


ability to do the cleaning up better than any other people on the 
face of the globe. 

''There is a good deal of the special policeman, of the sanitary 
engineer, of the social worker, and of the welfare dictator about the 
American people. We are quite conscious that in the development of 
this great country of ours, in our march across the continent, we 
have done a perfectly good job, and the pioneering spirit is very much 
alive. It is one of the most fundamental instincts that has made white 
men give to the world its history for the last thousand years. 

''As a great Nation, dedicated to democracy, we cannot under- 
take a war of conquest against a people because their moral develop- 
ment has been neglected by their former rulers. We can, however, 
insist, and we must insist, that these people shall make safe our 
borders and give protection to the lives and property of our nationals 
who have settled in Mexico at her invitation." 

"But is there no way, Mr. Secretary, in which the United States 
can help Mexico on the road to progress t" I asked. Mr. Lane said: 

"To directly offer help to Mexico would be looked upon by them 
as an insult, like slapping them in the face. This is a kind of pride 
that is purely Latin. It is an inheritance that comes to Mexico by way 
of Spain along with the ideals that Cervantes ridicules in 'Don 
Quixote'; but it is so real a thing that no progress can be made with- 
out recognizing it. So I say that to tell Mexico what she shall do in 
our straight-out American fashion, to say to Mexico, We are going to 
help you without being invited to do so, is equivalent under present 
conditions to a declaration of war. 

"The Mexicans do not believe in our professions of altruism. 
We must say to Mexico one of two things : Either you must keep our 
border safe and protect the rights of our nationals in Mexico, which 
you have not done, or we will invade your country and restore order 
ourselves; or we must say to Mexico, We understand the effort you 
are making to give the people a chance for life, liberty, and the pur- 
suit of happiness, and we will gladly help you if you ask our help to 
accomplish this end. 

"The last is the policy that the United States has been seeking 
to put into effect. The difficulty in doing this arises almost solely 
out of the difficulty we Americans have in persuading the peoples 
of Latin America that our intentions are really honest. 

"Nor is this altogether to be wondered at. Latin America has 
known the American chiefly as a seeker after concessions, a land 
grabber and an exploiter. Even where the American has bought 
property, as many have who to-day hold perfectly legal title to the 


land, they are absentee landlords, and every just criticism that the 
Irishman has had to make against the absentee English landlord can 
be made against the absentee American landlord in Mexico. 

''He does not become a part of Mexico; he does not throw in his 
lot with the Mexicans. He is willing to spend his money there and 
employ labor, but he has nothing in common with the people of the 
country. The Mexican feels that the American goes there only to get 
rich out of the land and labor of Mexico ; that he comes to exploit, not 
to develop." 

Mr. Lane had risen. He was standing on the raised veranda of 
his camp overlooking the placid waters of Lake Champlain. ''There 
are just two more things that I want to say," he continued. 

"There has never been a time since the United States estab- 
lished the present Mexican border under the treaty of Quadalupe 
Hidalgo when raids, small or great, have not taken place across that 
border, and sometimes Americans have been the raiders — ^we may as 
well acknowledge the fact. Furthermore, there never has been a time 
since the United States was founded when Mexico itself was a whole 
in the control of any one Qovemment. Even Diaz never had the 
Yaqui Indian country, never really controlled Sonora. 

"A police force alone has been a failure in Mexico. A failure 
both as far as the Mexicans are concerned and in protecting Ameri- 
can life and American property. American life and American prop- 
erty have both been repeatedly assailed and destroyed during every 
administration. The protection of our people there has always been a 
problem, and I believe always will be a problem. This hazard any 
foreigner takes who goes into a country filled with people who would 
risk their lives for a horse or a saddle. 

"Further, I say this: That looking at Mexico solely from the 
standpoint of allowing our miners, our engineers, and our capitalists 
to develop that country for their own benefit, and only incidentally 
for the benefit of Mexico, a policy of force is all that Mexico needs. 
It is the only policy that has ever been tried upon the Mexican people, 
and it has proved a success for the exploitation of the country by out- 
siders. If, however, we look at the Mexican question from the stand- 
point of the Mexican, is the policy of force adequate to the problem t 
No one who has studied it will say so. The truth is this : 

"Mexico will never be a nation in any real sense, nor will the 
Mexicans ever be a people of agricultural, commercial, industrial, or 
political consequence until the individual Mexican has had an economic 
and an educational chance. He must be tied to Mexico, and not to a 
landlord, by the ownership of a piece of land ; he must be able to read 


and write, so that he may know what the needs of civilization are. 
This policy is that which I characterized as a policy of hope and 
hopefulness. It is founded on doubt and despair. It refuses to recog- 
nize the Mexican who can only be shot into keeping order. 

''If we despair of these people, who is to be their friend t Are 
we Americans to see Mexico forever remain a land of a few rich and 
cultivated gentlemen, and 12,000,000 half-starved, ill-clothed, and il- 
literate peasants — ^men, women, and children — kept in slavery and 
subjection and ignorance, a people into whose lives comes nothing that 
raises them above the beasts of the field t 

''The people of the United States cannot conceive of such condi- 
tions. Is it not time to try another policy than that of force alone, 
which has failed so miserably and wrought such woet Is President 
Wilson to be criticized because he believes that it is not idealistic, not 
outside the range of reasonable hope, to think of America as the help- 
ful friend of Mexico f Why may not Mexico be led to see that we are 
honest in our willingness to help and that we can do itt 

"President Wilson has clearly seen the end that he desired from 
the first, and he has worked toward it against an opposition that was 
cunning and intensive, persistent and powerful. If he succeeds in 
giving a new birth of freedom to Mexico, he most surely will receive 
the verdict of mankind.'^ 



(3) The Abticle bt Presidekt Wilson Reprinted Here Appeared 
IN THE Issue of the ''Ladies' Home Journal" for October, 1916 

Large questions are difficult to state in brief compass, but they 
can be intelligently comprehended only when fully stated, and must 
to all candid persons seem worthy of the pains. The Mexican question 
has never anywhere been fully stated, so far as I know, and yet it is 
one which is in need of all the light that can be thrown upon it, and 
can be intelligently discussed only by those who clearly see all that 
is involved. 

In the first place, it is not a question which can be treated by 
itself as only a matter between Mexico and the United States. It 
is a part, a very intimate part, of the Pan-American question. The 
two Americas can be knitted together only by processes of peace, 
friendship, helpfulness, and good will, and the nation which must of 
necessity take the initiative in proving the possibility of these proc- 
esses is the United States. 

A discussion of the Pan-American question must always begin 
with the Monroe Doctrine, and very little light will be thrown upon it 
unless we consider the Monroe Doctrine from the point of view of 
Latin-America rather than from the point of view of the United 

In adopting the Monroe Doctrine the United States assumed the 
part of Big Brother to the rest of America. The primary purpose 
of the policy was to prevent the extension to the American Hemisphere 
of European influences, which seemed likely to involve South America 
and eventually ourselves as well in the net of European intrigue 
and reaction which was in that day being spread with so wide a sweep 
of purpose. But it was not adopted at the request of the American 
Republics. While it no doubt made them measurably free from the 
fear of European aggression or intervention in their affairs, it neither 
gave nor implied any guarantee on the part of the United States 
that we would use our power for their benefit and not for our own 
aggrandizement and advantage. 

As the power of the United States has increased, the uneasiness 


of the Latin- American republics has increased with regard to the use 
we might make of that power in dealing with them. 

Unfortunately we gave one very disquieting example of what we 
might do when we went to war with Mexico in Mr. Polk's time and 
got out of that war a great addition to our national territory. 

The suspicion of our southern neighbors, their uneasiness as to 
our growing power, their jealoui^ that we should assume to play Big 
Brother to them without their invitation to do so, has constantly stood 
in the way of the amicable and happy relations we wished to establish 
with them. Only in very recent years have they extended their 
hands to us with anything like cordiality, and it is not likely that 
we shall ever have their entire confidence until we have succeeded in 
giving them satisfactory and conclusive proofs of our own friendly 
and unselfish purpose. 

What is needed for the firm establishment of their faith in us 
is that we should give guaranties of some sort, in conduct as well as 
in promise, that we will as scrupulously respect their territorial 
integrity and their political sovereignty as we insist that European 
nations should respect them. 

If we should intervene in Mexico, we would undoubtedly revive 
the gravest suspicions throughout all the states of America. By 
intervention I mean the use of the power of the United States to 
establish internal order there without the invitation of Mexico and 
determine the character and method of her political institutions. We 
have professed to believe that every nation, every people, has the 
right to order its own institutions as it will, and we must live up to 
that profession in our actions in absolute good faith. 

Moreover, ''order" has been purchased in Mexico at a terrible 
cost when it has been obtained by foreign assistance. The foreign 
assistance has generally come in the form of financial aid. That 
financial aid has almost invariably been conditioned upon "conces- 
sions" which have put the greater part of the resources of the 
country which have as yet been developed in the hands of foreign 
capitalists, and by the same token under the ** protection" of foreign 

Those who have successfully maintained stable order in Mexico 
by such means have, like Diaz, found that they were the servants^ 
not of Mexico, but of foreign concessionaires. 

The economic development of Mexico has so far been accomplished 
by such ' ' concessions ' ' and by the exploitation of the fertile lands of 
the republic by a very small number of owners who have accumulated 


under one title hundreds of thousands of acres, swept within one 
ownership the greater part of states, and reduced the population of 
the country to a sort of peonage. 

Mexico is one of the treasure houses of the world. It is exceed- 
ingly to be desired by those who wish to amass fortunes. Its resources 
are indeed serviceable to the whole world and are needed by the 
industries of the whole world. No enterprising capitalist can look 
upon her without coveting her. The foreign diplomacy with which 
she has become bitterly familiar is the ''dollar diplomacy," which 
has almost invariably obliged her to give precedence to foreign inter- 
ests over her own. What she needs more than anything else is financial 
support which will not involve the sale of her liberties and the enslave- 
ment of her people. 

Property owned by foreigners, enterprises conducted by foreigners, 
will never be safe in Mexico so long as their existence and the method 
of their use and conduct excite the suspicion and, upon occasion, the 
hatred of the people of the country itself. 

I would not be understood as saying that all or even the majority 
of the foreigners who have owned property in Mexico or who have 
developed her extraordinary resources have acted in a way to excite 
the jealousy or deserve the dislike of the people of the country. It 
is fortunately true that there have been a great many who acted with ^ 
the same honor and public spirit there that characterized them at 
home, and whose wish it has never been to exploit the country to its 
own hurt and detriment. 

I am speaking of a system and not uttering an indictment. The 
system by which Mexico has been financially assisted has in the past 
generally bound her hand and foot and left her in effect without a 
free government. It has almost in every instance deprived her 
people of the part they were entitled to play in the determination of 
their own destiny and development. 

This is what every leader in Mexico has to fear, and the history 
of Mexico's dealings with the United States cannot be said to be 

It goes without saying that the United States must do as she is 
doing — she must insist upon the safety of her borders; she must, so 
fast as order is worked out of chaos, use every instrumentality she 
can in friendship employ to protect the lives and the property of her 
citizens in Mexico. 

But she can establish permanent peace on her borders only by a 
resolute and consistent adoption in action of the principles which 


underlie her own life. She must respect the liberties and the self- 
government of Mexicans as she would respect her own. She has pro- 
fessed to be the champion of the rights of small and helpless states, 
and she must make that profession good in what she does. She has 
professed to be the friend of Mexico, and she must prove it by seeing 
to it that every step she takes is a step of friendship and helpfulness. 

Our own principles and the peace of the world are conditioned 
upon the exemplification of those professions in action by ourselves 
and by all the nations of the world, and our dealings with MeiSco 
afford us an opportunity to show the way. 

Mexico must no doubt struggle through long processes of blood 
and terror before she finds herself and returns to the paths of peace 
and order; but other nations, older in political experience than she, 
have staggered and struggled through these dark ways for years 
together to find themselves at last, to come out into the light, to 
know the price of liberty, to realize the compulsion of peace, and the 
orderly processes of law. 

It is painful to observe how few of the suggestions as to what 
the United States ought to do with regard to Mexico are based upon 
sympathy with the Mexican people or any effort even to understand 
what they need and desire. I can say with knowledge that most of 
the suggestions of action come from those who wish to possess her, 
who wish to use her, who regard her people with condescension and 
a touch of contempt, who believe that they are fit only to serve and 
not fit for liberty of any sort. Such men can not and will not 
determine the policy of the United States. They are not of the true 
American breed or motive. 

America will honor herself and prove the validity of her own 
principles by treating Mexico as she would wish Mexico to treat her. 


(4) Memorandum on the Bight of American Citizens to Travel 
UPON Armed Merchant Ships, Transmitted to the Com- 
mittee ON Foreign Affairs of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, March 4, 1916 

The question to be considered in the present memorandam is 
whether Americans intending to travel on armed belligerent merchant 
vessels should be warned by the United States that in doing so they 
travel at their own risk, and that the United States should so warn its 
citizens about to embark upon armed belligerent merchant vessels. 
This raises the question whether or not a neutral citizen and subject 
can avail himself of a belligerent armed vessel for the transport of his 
person or goods, the determination of which seems to depend upon the 
further and the fundamental question whether a belligerent merchant 
ship may, without violation of law, carry armament to defend itself 
against attack upon the high seas. 

The conclusions to be sustained by this memorandum, and which 
it is believed are supported by the practice of nations, are that a neu- 
tral has the right to transport his person and property upon armed 
belligerent merchant ships; that the vessels so armed may defend 
themselves if attacked by the enemy ; that, in so doing, they are within 
their rights under the law of nations as interpreted and applied by 
the Supreme Court of the United States; and that the neutral does 
not partake of a belligerent character although he is on board the bel- 
ligerent merchant vessel, nor does he sacrifice his neutral character nor 
the neutrai quality of his goods, according to the law of nations as 
interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United States, if the armed 
belligerent merchant vessel resists attack, unless the neutral actually 
took part in the hostilities committed under these circumstances by 
the armed belligerent merchant vessel upon which his person may 
happen to be. 

The memorandum will also endeavor to show that, while the out- 
break of war authorizes a belligerent to capture the private property 
of his enemy upon the high seas, the declaration of war does not 
operate as a confiscation of the property, but only authorizes the bel- 
ligerent to use the force necessary to capture the property, and that, 
according to the law of nations, the formalities hitherto recognized 
must be complied with — ^namely, that a merchant vessel of the enemy 
before capture must be summoned to surrender, and that upon its 
surrender, whether after the use of force or an attempt to escape the 


capturing vessel, it shall not be sunk or destroyed without first putting 
in a place of safety the persons on board and, if possible, the property ; 
that the use of an agent or instrumentality such as the submarine that 
does not and cannot comply with these requirements is not authorized 
by the law of nations to capture the enemy vessel ; that the law ought 
not to be changed to suit the convenience of the submarine or of the 
belligerent, but that the agency of the belligerent ought to be changed 
to meet the requirements of the law ; and that the requirements of this 
law cannot be overcome by an ex parte announcement or warning 
issued by a belligerent government that it will destroy without warn- 
ing any merchant vessel of the enemy which the commanding officer 
of that vessel may, before visit and search, decide to be an armed 
enemy vessel. 

The right of a belligerent vessel to arm is not the result of a 
sudden decision on the part of a belligerent in order to protect his 
merchant vessels from capture upon the high seas, but has been for 
centuries the practice of nations. An armed merchant vessel differs 
from a privateer, which was a vessel owned by a private person — 
although commissioned by a belligerent and, by virtue of its com- 
mission, authorized to commit hostilities and to make captures — in 
that the merchant vessel carries its armament for defensive purposes 
and is not commissioned by the government whose flag it flies. It is 
therefore a merchant vessel, having none of the marks of a war vessel, 
and its arms are for purely defensive purposes, to protect it from 
capture, a protection it would enjoy without armament if the policy of 
the United States, extending over a period of a century, were recog- 
nized to-day — ^as it was, in 1785, recognized by Prussia in the treaty 
of September 10 of that year. It is not, however, necessary to con- 
sider this matter in the light of history or in the light of theory, be- 
cause, in so far as the United States is concerned, the right of an 
enemy merchant vessel to arm itself for defensive purposes has been 
solemnly adjudged in the case of the Nereide (9 Cranch 388), decided 
in 1815, and, upon reconsideration, affirmed three years later in the 
case of the Atalanta (3 Wheaton 409). The judgment of the court 
in the first, which is the leading case on the subject, was written and 
delivered by Chief Justice Marshall, in the course of which he said : 

A belligerent has a perfect right to arm in his own defence and a 
neutral has a perfect right to transport his goods in a belligerent ves- 
sel. These rights do not interfere with each other. The neutral has 
no control over the belligerent right to arm— ought he to be account- 
able for the exercise of it? By placing neutral property in a belliger- 
ent ship, that property, according to the positive rules of law, does 


not cease to be neutral. Why should it be changed by the exercise of 
a belligerent right, universally acknowledged, and in common use when 
the rule was laid down, and over which the neutral had no control t 

The Nereide was a British merchant vessel. It was not commis- 
sioned, so that it did not partake of any of the characteristics or enjoy 
the rights or privileges then accorded to privateers, and which the 
United States at the present day could accord to its privateers if it 
availed itself of the right to use them. It was armed for defense. It 
was attacked and it defended itself. The neutral, with his cargo, was 
aboard the vessel. He took no part in the armed resistance, and the 
Supreme Coxut of the United States laid down the rule that neither 
his rights as a neutral nor his property as that of a neutral were 
affected by the resistance to the capture by the belligerent armed ship. 
As this decision is so important, and is binding upon the United States 
— for the decision of the Supreme Court on a point of law binds all 
departments of the Government until it is changed, which it has not 
been to the present day — it is more advisable to quote certain por- 
tions of the opinion to the Court rather than to indulge in theoretical 
speculations, however well grounded they may appear. Thus, Chief 
Justice Marshall said: 

That a neutral may lawfully put his goods on board a belligerent 
ship for conveyance on the ocean, is universally recognized as the 
rightful rule of the law of nations. It is, as has already been stated, 
founded on the plain and simple principle, that the property of a 
friend remains his property, wherever it may be found. *' Since it is 
not," says Vattel, **the place where a thing is, which determines the 
nature of that thing, but the character of the person to whom it be- 
longs, things belonging to neutral persons, which happen to be in an 
enemy's country, or on board an enemy's ships are to be distinguished 
from those which belong to the enemy.*' Bynkershoek lays down the 
same principles in terms equally explicit; and in terms entitled to 
the more consideration, because he enters into the inquiry whether a 
knowledge of the hostile character of the vessel, can affect the owner 
of the goods. The same principle is laid down by other writers on the 
same subject, and is believed to be contradicted hy none. It is true, 
there were some o7d ordinances of France, declaring that a hostile 
vessel or cargo should expose both to condemnation; but these ordi- 
nances have never constituted a rule of public law. 

After laying down this general principle and supporting it by author- 
ity, if authority other than that of his own great name and of his 
unanswerable reasoning be required, the great Chief Justice continues : 

It is deemed of much importance, that the rule is universally laid 
down in terms which comprehend an armed as well as an unarmed 
vessel; and that armed vessels have never been excepted from it. 


Bynkershoek, in discussing a question, suggesting an exception, with 
his mind directed to hostilities, does not hint that this privilege is 
confined to unarmed merchantmen. In point of fact, it is believed, 
that a belligerent merchant vessel rarely sails unarmed, so that this 
exception from the rule would be greater than the rule itself. At 
all events, the number of those who are armed, and who sail under 
convoy, is too great, not to have attracted the attention of writers 
on public law: and this exception to their broad general rule, if it 
existed, would certainly be found in some of their works. It would 
be strange, if a rule laid down, with a view to war, in such broad 
terms as to have universal application, should be so construed, as to 
exclude from its operation almost every case for which it purports 
to provide, and yet that not a dictum should be found in the books, 
pointing to such construction. The antiquity of the rule is certainly 
not unworthy of consideration. It is to be traced back to the time 
when almost every merchantman was in a condition of self-defence, 
and the implements of war were so light and so cheap, that scarcely 
any would sail without them. 

But the Chief Justice was not content to lay down principles. He 
stated and answered the arguments which had been addressed to the 
court in the trial of the case. Thus : 

To the argument, that by placing his goods in the vessel of an 
armed enemy, he connects himself with that enemy, and assumes the 
hostile character ; it is answered, that no such connection exists. The 
object of the neutral is the transportation of his goods. His connec- 
tion with the vessel which transports them is the same, whether that 
vessel be armed or unarmed. The act of arming is not his — ^it is the 
act of a party who has a right so to do. He meddles not with the 
armament, nor with the war. Whether his goods were on board or not, 
the vessel would be armed and would saU. His goods do not con- 
tribute to the armament, further than the freight he pays, and freight 
he would pay, were the vessel unarmed. It is difficult to perceive 
in this argument an3rthing which does not also apply to an unarmed 
vessel. In both instances, it is the right and the duty of the carrier to 
avoid capture, and to prevent a search. There is no difference, except 
in the degree of capacity to carry this duty into effect. The argument 
would operate against the rule which permits the neutral merchant to 
employ a belligerent vessel, without imparting to his goods the bd- 
ligerent character. 

It will be observed that in this passage the Chief Justice, speak- 
ing under a sense of judicial responsibility and passing adversely 
upon a contention advanced by his own government in the war of 1812 
with Great Britain, states it to be *'both the right and the duty of 
the carrier to avoid capture and to prevent a search," whether the 
vessel be armed or unarmed. Having stated that it is the duty of 
the carrier to avoid capture, the conclusion necessarily follows, which 
the Chief Justice himself draws in the succeeding paragraph, that 


' ' the argument respecting resistance stands on the same ground with 
that with respect to arming. Both are lawful. Neither of them is 
chargeable to the goods or their owner, where he has taken no part in 
it. They are incident to the character of the vessel and may always 
occur where the carrier is belligerent." 

In a later passage of his opinion, Chief Justice Marshall assimilates 
the status of passengers to the status of cargo, and in so doing ac- 
knowledges the right of passengers to their neutral character upon a 
belligerent armed merchant vessel, just as the property of such a 
person is regarded as neutral property. Thus he says : 

If the neutral character of the goods is forfeited by the resistance 
of the belligerent vessel, why is not the neutral character of the pas- 
sengers forfeited by the same cause f The master and crew are prison- 
ers of war, why are not those passengers who did not engage in the 
conflict, also prisoners f That they are not, would seem to the court 
to afford a strong argument in favor of the goods. The law would 
operate in the same manner on both. 

Recapitulating, it appears to be incontrovertible that the decision 
of the Supreme Court of the United States solemnly acknowledges 
the right of a belligerent to resist attack, and that this right is to be 
considered not merely as a decision of the United States on this point 
but as a decision in accordance with the dictates of international law, 
based upon universal usage and authority, which the Chief Justice 
applied, and which he was obliged to apply, in a case involving its 
principles. It also appears to be incontrovertible that the vessel not 
merely had the right to arm and to resist, but, in the language of 
the Chief Justice, it was **the duty of the carrier to avoid capture" 
by the use of such arms and resistance, and, as the Chief Justice said 
in another passage, ''she had a right to defend herself, did defend 
herself, and might have captured an assailing vessel;" and that the 
neutral has the right to be a passenger and to transport his prop- 
erty on such a vessel, and does not have his neutral character ques- 
tioned, even although the ship, armed for defensive purposes, exer- 
cises the right by resisting capture. 

This decision of the Supreme Court, delivered in this instance by 
Chief Justice Marshall, has not been overruled and is the law of the 
land at the present day. 

A right which has been shown universally to exist is presumed to 
continue to exist until it has been shown that it no longer does ex- 
ist, and any country claiming that the law has ceased to exist cannot 
relieve itself of the burden of proof ; and in this connection another 
passage is quoted from a decision of the Supreme Court of the 


United States, likewise delivered by Chief Justice Marshall. In speak- 
ing of the slave trade, which was at that time lawfnL Chief Justice 
Marshall said, in the case of the Antelope (10 Wheaton 66, 122), de- 
cided in 1825 : 

In this commerce thus sanctioned by universal assent, every na- 
tion had an equal right to engage. How is this right to be lost? Each 
may renounce it for its own people; but can this renunciation affect 
others f 

No principle of general law is more universally acknowledged, than 
the pei^ect equality of nations. Russia and Geneva have equal rights. 
It results from this equality, that no one can rightfully impose a rule 
on another. Each legislates for itself, but its legislation ean operate 
on itself alone. A right, then, which is vested in all, by the consent 
of all, can be divested only by consent; and this trade, in which all 
have participated, must remain lawful to those who can not be induced 
to relinquish it. As no nation can prescribe a rule for others, none 
can make a law of nations; and this traffic remains lawful to those 
whose governments have not forbidden it. 

A careful examination fails to disclose any action taken to ques- 
tion the lawfulness of belligerent merchant vessels to arm in self- 
defense. The abolition of privateering by the Declaration of Paris — 
to which, however, the United States was not and is not now a party — 
did not affect the right of a private merchant vessel to carry and to use 
arms in self-defense, because the Declaration of Paris abolished merely 
the right of privateering, and did not directly or indirectly affect 
the rights or duties or the privileges of private merchant vessels, as 
such. The right, therefore, of merchant vessels to arm in self-defense 
was unaffected by the Declaration of Paris and there is no other inter- 
national convention or international act to be found questioning the 
existence of that right. 

In some quarters the claim has been advanced that merchant ves- 
sels armed for defense are practically privateers. This claim has no 
basis in fact. A privateer was a private vessel, admittedly armed 
for offense and acting under a letter of marque or other government 
commission which removed it from the class of merchant vessels. By 
the fact of the government commissions, privateers were authorized to 
act offensively without committing a breach of the laws of warfare, 
and the captain and owners of the privateer were further placed under 
a measure of government responsibility to which the owner and cap- 
tain of an ordinary merchant vessel are not subject. A merchant 
vessel armed for defense only is one whose status is entirely un- 
changed except for her armament. She does not operate under any 
commission of the government and her captain and owners are not in 


any special sense responsible to the government by virtue of any 
commission or other governmental authority issued in her behalf. 
Should she use her armament offensively she will thereby render her- 
self liable to the consequent results under international law ; but the 
mere fact of her having an armament on board does not change her 
status from that of a merchant vessel to that of a vessel of war, which 
a privateer was. 

The right of a merchant vessel so to arm was not questioned until 
the actions of belligerents indicated an intention on their part to use 
converted merchant vessels for offensive purposes, and for fear that 
unconverted merchant vessels should be so used, the Second Hague 
Peace Conference laid down the conditions upon which merchant ships 
might be incorporated in the fighting fleet in time of war. This Con- 
vention was signed and ratified by both Germany and Great Britain, 
and regardless of any technical question as to whether it is in force in 
the present war, may be taken as indicating their views upon this 
subject which has now become so important. According to the Con- 
vention, before a merchant vessel may be considered a warship it 

1. Be placed under the direct authority, immediate control, and 
responsibility of the power whose flag it flies (Art. 2). 

2. It must bear the external marks which distinguish the war- 
ships of their nationality (Art. 2). 

3. The commander must be in the service of the state and duly 
commissioned by the competent authorities. His name must figure 
on the list of the officers of the fighting fleet (Art. 3). 

4. The crew must be subjected to military discipline (Art. 4) . 

5. A belligerent who converts a merchant ship into a warship 
must as soon as possible announce such conversion in the list of war- 
ships (Art. 6). 

In the face of the provisions of this Convention, one of the signa- 
tory and ratifying powers seeks to maintain that a merchant vessel 
may be considered a warship, regardless of whether the provisions 
of this Convention have or have not been complied with. It is sig- 
nificant, in this connection, that the United States, in order to retain 
full liberty of action with reference to the use of merchant ships in 
time of war, neither signed, ratified, nor adhered to this Con- 

The declared intention of belligerents to convert merchant vessels 
to war vessels and the policy of nations to have merchant vessels built 
in such a way that they might carry armament, and thus be more use- 
ful when converted, suggested the possibility that merchant vessels 


of belligerents might, by means of defensive armament, exercise their 
right (and their duty, according to Chief Justice Marshall) to defend 
themselves from capture by these converted merchantmen, whereas 
they would not have been able to offer resistance to heavily armed 
men-of-war built solely for offensive purposes. 

The question, therefore, as to the right of merchant vessels to 
arm became a subject of discussion and a matter of moment to those 
nations which might wish to use converted merchant vessels as com- 
merce destroyers. 

The question of the right of merchant vessels to arm and to de- 
fend themselves was carefully considered just a year before the out- 
break of the war of 1914, in the session of the Institute of Interna- 
tional Law, composed of distinguished publicists of the different coun- 
tries, which, meeting at Oxford, England, in August, 1913, adopted 
a Manual of the Laws of Maritime Warfare. Article 13 of the project 
of the Commission charged with the preparation of the Manual reads 
as follows : 

Privateering, Private vessels, Public vessels not vessels of war. — 
Privateering is forbidden. 

In addition to the conditions laid down in Articles 3 and following, 
public vessels and vessels belonging to private persons, as well as their 
personnel, cannot commit acts of hostility against the enemy. 

It is permitted, however, to vessels of each of these two classes to 
employ force to defend themselves against the attack of an enemy 

The discussion of the meeting turned entirely upon the last para- 
graph. Dr. Triepel of Gtermany asked its suppression, saying: ''A 
ship of commerce never has the right of defending herself even if the 
attack of which it is the object is illegitimate. It is not for her to 
make herself the judge on this point." His point of view was opposed 
by Dr. Piore, of Italy, who said that if private ships can never attack 
it is at least legal for them to defend themselves, and even make 
legitimately a prize under this hypothesis if they find they have the 
material and force necessary. He congratulated himself at seeing in 
the text of the commission the confirmation of this rule of Italian 
legislation, and later on he said: '^The question is at bottom very 
simple. Force should be able to be repulsed by force in whatever 
manner this manifests itself," and asked the vote on Article 13 just 
as it stood. Lord Beay, of Great Britain, supported Dr. Piore 's view 
of voting Article 13 just as it was written in the pro jet, and he men- 
tioned that the legitimacy of the permission given by the Admiralty 
to certain large liners to have four guns on board has been contested. 


even by distinguished persons. The text of paragraph 3 of Article 
12 would cause every objection to disappear on this point. Lord 
Reay asked of the Institute to announce for ships of commerce the 
right of legitimate defense in the conditions contemplated. The 
article was adopted as written in the projet by a large majority and 
is now published as a part of the Manual in the Annuaire of the In- 
stitute. The whole Manual was adopted by 53 out of 54 members 
present, one (an Italian delegate) abstaining. 

In the discussion, Dr. Niemeyer, a delegate from Germany, said 
that the right of self-defense against an act of force goes without 
saying, and he proposed to suppress the last paragraph of Article 12 
(13 of the projet), for the reason that the fact of inserting a pro- 
vision of that kind was equivalent to a concession that a contrary 
opinion was possible. It is thus seen that the delegates from (Ger- 
many were not in accord among themselves, and in view of the large 
majority in favor of Article 12 and of the final almost unanimous 
approval of the total Manual, it appears that very recent and very 
intelligent opinion supports the view that the arming of merchant 
ships for defense is entirely proper, and that such an armament may 
be used properly for defense. 

Considering that the right of a belligerent merchant vessel to 
arm itself for defensive purposes is in accordance with the practice 
and the law of nations, and that it was as laid down by the Supreme 
Court of the United States, and considering also that the right has 
been carefully considered and examined by an uno£Scial but scientific 
body, whose views have influenced, and rightly, the actions of govern- 
ments, the question naturally arises, if the belligerent can capture 
private property of the enemy upon the high seas, what are the condi- 
tions, if any, which must regulate the exercise of the right of capture! 
The statement of Chief Justice Marshall in the case of the Nereide is 
sufficient authority for the right of a belligerent to capture the pri- 
vate property of the enemy, if authority were needed, but the point 
is so well admitted that a quotation of authority for this universally 
acknowledged right would be a waste of time. It should be said, 
however, in this connection, that the immunity of private property 
on the high seas has been the traditional policy advocated by the 
United States, formulated by this Government before the existence of 
the present Constitution, and this Government therefore would not be 
justified in relaxing the rules relating to capture. 

Universal practice permits the capture of private property of the 
enemy upon the high seas. The fact, however, that neutrals may be 
interested in property on board of a captured ship has resulted in the 


enlightened practice obtaining before the outbreak of the war of 1914, 
to preserve the property captured, and to pass it before a prize court 
in order to determine the validity of the prize by a court of justice 
passing upon the evidence in the case, instead of virtually allowing 
a naval commander to set up a prize court upon the quarterdeck to 
determine the enemy character and to take such action as might occur 
to him in the premises. The practice of nations before the outbreak 
of the present war was for a belligerent vessel having to make capture 
to summon the vessel suspected of being an enemy ship to lie to. If 
it did not do so, the belligerent war vessel was authorized to proceed 
to the use of force necessary to complete surrender. If the enemy 
vessel attempted to escape it was the right of the belligerent man-of- 
war to give pursuit and to use such force as was at its disposal to 
compel the ship to halt, even although the vessel should be sunk in 
the conflict. The practice which crystallized into law on the question 
was that, ad the enemy vessel had the right and the duty, as Chief 
Justice Marshall said, to avoid capture, either by resisting attack or 
by escaping if it were able, the vessel so exercising its right and per- 
forming its duty was not subjected to punishment therefor; and en- 
lightened practice at the outbreak of the current war required that 
the vessel should not be sunk if it could be taken into port, or, if it 
was sunk, that this should not be done until the persons on board and, 
if possible, the property, had been saved. This was the procedure 
prescribed in the Imperial German Prize Ordinance, issued on the 3d 
day of August, 1914. 

The right of a submarine to carry on hostile operations is not 
questioned. It is a public vessel, built for a military purpose, duly 
commissioned, under command of commissioned naval officers, with a 
crew subjected to military discipline. It therefore is a man-of-war 
and entitled to exercise the rights thereof in so far as her structure 
and personnel permit such exercise in accordance with international 
law. It is likewise bound by all the obligations resting upon a man- 
of-war. It does not have any greater rights than a man-of-war would 
have, and is not relieved of any duties of a man-of-war which operates 
upon the surface. It may summon a merchant vessel to lie to. It 
can, however, exercise the right of visit and search under exceptional 
circumstances only. Its limited personnel does not admit of furnish- 
ing prize crews. On the other hand, it cannot take on board the per- 
sonnel of captured ships to insure their safety if the destruction 
of the prize is intended. Its commander can rarely, if ever, secure 
the papers on board a prize. In fact, it is a vessel which was origi- 
nally designed for military action against military vessels^ where 


safety of personnel and warning of attack are not essential. By its 
limitations it cannot, unless the circmnstances be exceptional, act as 
a cruiser against commerce and fulfill the requirements of inter- 
national law and the dictates of ordinary humanity. 

If the United States yields the point that its citizens have not 
the right to travel on armed merchant ships of belligerents, to the ex- 
tent of the public warning by the legislative branch of the Govern- 
ment to United States citizens not to take passage on such vessels, it 
will, in the face of its own precedents, in effect consent to a change of 
international law, which will result to the advantage of one belligerent 
and to the disadvantage of his adversaries. This would be unneutral. 
Furthermore, it would be consenting to a change of international law 
during war, a thing against which the United States has earnestly 
and steadily protested in other international questions that have 
arisen during the war. 

The conditions under which enemy merchant vessels can be de- 
stroyed were correctly laid down by the German Government in oflS- 
cial instructions issued to its naval ofScers at the beginning of the war. 
The German Prize Code {Prizenordnung) of the 30th September, 
1909, and issued at the beginning of the war, is given in its amended 
form as in force July 1, 1915, after the submarine warfare against 
merchant vessels had begun, in a book entitled The Oerman Prize 
Code, translated by Huberich and King (Baker, Voorhis & Co., New 
York, 1915). Articles 113 to 116, inclusive, and Articles 118 and 
119 refer to the destruction of prizes. Article 113 refers to the de- 
struction of neutral prizes. Article 114 reads, translated: 

Before the commander determines on the destruction of a vessel, 
he must consider whether the damage thereby done to the enemy will 
outweigh the damages payable for the parts of the cargo not subject 
to condemnation (op. arts. 18, 42, 51, 56 and 80), and which are de- 
stroyed at the same time. 

Article 18, referred to in Article 114, must be read in connection 
with Article 17. Those two articles read as follows : 

17. A captured enemy vessel is subject to condemnation. 

18. The following parts of the cargo of such vessels are subject 
to condemnation : 

(a) Enemy goods; 

(b) Goods belonging to the master and owner of the vessel, if the 
vessel was captured by reason of resistance (see art. 16b). 

(c) Articles of contraband, and goods belonging to tie owner of 
the contraband, as provided for in Part III ; 

(d) In case of breach of blockade, goods liable to confiscation 
under art. 80. 


From this reference in Article 114 to Article 18, which latter 
depends upon Article 17, referring to a captured enemy vessel, it is 
plain that Article 114 refers to the destruction of any prize, whether 
enemy or neutral. Therefore, following the regulations, if they do not 
specifically mention enemy or neutral vessels they must apply gen- 
erally. Article 116 reads: 

Before destruction, the safety of all persons on board, and, so far 
as possible, their effects, is to be provided for, and all ship's papers 
and other evidentiary material, which, according to the views of the 
persons at interest, is of value for the formulation of the judgment of 
the prize court, are to be taken over by the commander. 

By this article the destruction of no vessel can take place without 
first providing for the safety of all persons on board. This refers to 
persons of the enemy as well as to persons of the neutraL This hu- 
mane rule, found in the German Prize Code after the inauguration of 
submarine warfare, is identical with the wording of the same rule in 
the Prize Code as it was originally issued at the beginning of the cur- 
rent war. 

The submarine warfare was entered into by Germany as a measure 
of reprisal and not in accordance with the laws of maritime warfare, 
which are so well expressed in the prize ordinance, and the illegality 
of the destruction of vessels without the formalities recognized by 
their own Prize Code in pursuance of a policy that is itself illegal as 
toward the interests of neutrals, especially when these interests involve 
the sacrifice of life, should not be admitted for one moment by this 

In considering the issue of a warning to American citizens against 
traveling upon armed merchant vessels of the belligerents, it must 
not be overlooked that the United States has an obligation to protect 
the property of its citizens as well as to protect their lives. If citi- 
zens are warned not to intrust their lives upon armed merchant ships 
of the belligerents, the same reasons would compel the United States 
to warn its citizens not to intrust their property to armed merchant 
ships; for, as pointed out by Chief Justice Marshall, the right to 
travel and the right to transport goods are legally identical. If the 
warning be carried to its logical results, there would be a voluntary 
surrender of the rights of American citizens to trade with belligerents, 
which right it has been sought, especially as it affects the trade in 
munitions, to limit in a direct way, and it has been the subject of 
negotiations in which the United States has already taken a firm 
stand. It is not to be expected that this Oovemment should submit 


indirectly upon a point which it has heretofore declined to submit to 

Passing from the subject of contraband, it would seem that if 
this policy be adopted, it would logically follow that a warning should 
also be issued to American citizens against intrusting non-contraband 
cargoes to armed vessels, and that they should be told that if they 
intrust their property to such vessels and it is sunk by a submarine, 
there will result a total loss and the Government will not be in a 
position to make a claim for its value, because the merchant vessel 
happened to be exercising its lawful right of carrying defensive 

The situation should not be overlooked with which the United 
States would be confronted in case a warning to American citizens 
not to travel upon armed merchant vessels of belligerents be issued. 
In view of the variety of deceits, stratagems and subterfuges which 
the present war has produced, it will have to be determined definitely 
whether a merchant vessel comes within the prohibited class, not only 
when it sails from our ports but also at the time of attack. The 
question will also arise for consideration as to the attitude which the 
United States is to take if an ostensibly armed vessel leaves our ports 
with American citizens on board and is sunk by a submarine on the 
ground that it was armed after leaving an American port. The ves- 
sel and probably all persons and evidence on board for determining 
the question of armament will be at the bottom of the sea. The United 
States may provide for the inspection of all belligerent armed mer- 
chant vessels before they leave port, but the Government operating 
the submarine is at liberty to accept or reject the finding of the 
American inspector, and, if it thinks proper, to insist upon the accu- 
racy of the report of its submarine commander. The diplomatic 
correspondence which has already passed between the United States 
and other governments on this point need only be referred to to show 
the probability of such an issue being raised. If the United States 
should admit the contention of the government so operating the sub- 
marine, it might follow that all merchant vessels would be sunk upon 
the ground, real or alleged, that they were armed. In such a con- 
tingency, no real progress would be made in settling the issue which 
has arisen by voluntary relinquishment of the undisputed and im- 
memorial rights of American citizens to transport both their persons 
and property upon armed merchant vessels of belligerents. A warn- 
ing issued to American citizens to avoid armed merchant vessels of 
the belligerents would, it is believed, merely shift the point of con- 
troversy from a discussion of the character of the arming of merchant 


vessels as oflfensive or defensive to the broader question whether any 
armament at all is aboard the vessel. 

The position this Government has taken is briefly as follows : 

Neutrals have a right to travel on merchant ships in time of war 
in the full assurance that their lives are safe from illegal attack. 

An unannounced attack on a merchant ship is illegal. 

Merchant ships have the right to arm for defense. 

The highest court of the United States, in the words of one of its 
most distinguished jurists, Chief Justice Marshall, has distinctly af- 
firmed this right, and the United States is therefore the last to be able 
to contest it. 

The arming of a belligerent merchant ship impairs no neutral 

As the arming of a merchant ship for defense is not illegal and 
does not impair any neutral right the United States has no ground to 
demand that it be discontinued by the belligerents practicing it. 

It is not illegal for a belligerent to destroy an enemy merchant 
ship after capture, whether that ship be armed or not, provided that 
the destruction be done after the requirements of international law 
have been observed. 

Submarines, if they observe the preliminary requirements of inter- 
national law, are vessels that may, in so far as their status and that of 
their personnel is concerned, make captures. 

If, however, they cannot, owing to their limitations, observe all 
the requirements of international law in making captures, neutral 
governments cannot admit their right to go beyond the act of capture 
and actually destroy merchant vessels without warning, in disregard 
of the requirements of international law and especially of the one 
grounded on decency and humanity — ^the safety of innocent human 
life — without surrendering national self-respect and national sov- 
ereignty, which would be a betrayal of the national honor. 

The United States Government cannot, without such betrayal, pub- 
licly warn its citizens to renounce their rights in the face of a bel- 
ligerent threat to do an illegal act, for such warning would be in effect 
an admission of the right of submarines to destroy merchant vessels 

Individual citizens are free to act as their individual judgment 
may dictate, but for the United States Government to advise them to 
refrain from doing what they have a right to do in safety according 
to law, without exposing their lives to danger, would be to abdicate 
its function of protecting its citizens not only in their rights but in 
their lives. 


DUE JUN ti 192tl 

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